Rapper E-40 back in Vallejo with school supplies-filled backpacks for students – Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Hip-hop star E-40’s mission was simple on Tuesday.

He came back to give back.

Also known as Earl Stevens, 48, E-40 was at his former Vallejo junior high school — now Franklin Middle School — to hand out backpacks to every student there. And, not just any backpacks, but Jansport backpacks with lifetime warranties, filled with needed school supplies, organizers said.

Principal Michelle Jordan Faucette said that this is not the only way E-40 returns the favor to the city he still considers his own. He is also funding the construction of a music studio on campus, she said.

Source: Rapper E-40 back in Vallejo with school supplies-filled backpacks for students

Students return to Vallejo schools on Wednesday – Times Herald

By John Glidden

By lunch time on Wednesday several kindergarten students at Pennycook Elementary School had already learned to recognize their names and use scissors.

A smooth opening day for the Vallejo City Unified School District.

About 600 general education students arrived at the school, as thousands more around the city began the day with yawns and chances to make new friends.

“I’m very excited to see our Pennycook scholars,” said Pennycook Principal Kimberly Mitchell-Lewis. “The theme for this year is truth, learning, creativity, and talent.”

Source: Students return to Vallejo schools on Wednesday – Times Herald

Vallejo school board unable to place bonds on November ballot – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A level of shock and stillness was felt in the meeting hall Wednesday night after the Vallejo school board failed to place two companion general obligation bond measures on the November ballot.

Vallejo City Unified School District staff had recommended placing two $139 million bonds on the fall ballot to repair school facilities in the district. One measure was reserved for middle and high schools facilities, while the second was intended to assist the district’s elementary schools.

Per state law, 66 percent of the board, or four out of the five trustees needed to vote “yes” to place one or both measures on the fall ballot.

Board President Tony Ubalde, along with Trustees Hazel Wilson, and Ward “Ace” Stewart voted “yes” for both bond measures, while Board Vice President Ruscal Cayangyang, and Trustee Burky Worel voted “no” each time.

 

Source: Vallejo school board unable to place bonds on November ballot

Proposed Vallejo city-school taskforce stalls – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The momentum behind a proposed City-Schools Taskforce formed to discuss community issues impacting schools, and school issues impacting the community appears to have stalled.

The idea behind the taskforce gained traction after several violent incidents occurred at Vallejo’s schools, including the May 2015 shooting death of Jesse Bethel High School student Max Rusk.

However, the 10-person committee still has several vacancies, and the group has yet to meet.

The city council appointed Mayor Osby Davis, and Vice Mayor Rozzana Verder-Aliga to serve, while the school board tapped trustees Raymond Mommsen and Ward “Ace” Stewart to represent the board on the taskforce.

Source: Proposed Vallejo city-school taskforce stalls

Vallejo City Council to decide on joint meeting with school board – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Just over two months after the Vallejo school board officially approved a motion asking the Vallejo City Council for a joint meeting, councilmembers will decide the fate of that invitation.

The Vallejo City Council is expected to make a decision during its meeting Tuesday night.

For over a year, Vallejo City Unified School District Trustee Burky Worel repeatedly asked his colleagues to call for a joint meeting with the council to discuss various issues, including school safety.

Worel, and VCUSD Vice President Ruscal Cayangyang have attended city council meetings, asking councilmembers to initiate the joint meeting, as well.

Source: Vallejo City Council to decide on joint meeting with school board

Bethel grad gets Will Smith’s attention – Times Herald

By Richard Freedman

Demetrius Johnson may not have been at wit’s end, but he was close.

A year out of Bethel High School, Johnson was stuffed into a dorm room at San Diego State University paying about $1,200 a month.

The former basketball and football player was not happy.

“The three of us in a small room paying all this money,” he remembers.

When financial aid evaporated, the Television, Film, and New Media major was desperate. Always a Will Smith fan, Johnson posted a heartfelt letter to Smith’s Facebook page, realizing the slim odds of the actor actually reading it.

source: Bethel grad gets Will Smith’s attention – Times Herald

Vallejo school board to decide on possible November bonds – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Two years after a $239 million school bond intended to address district facilities failed to receive enough support from the community, the Vallejo school board will decide Wednesday night if it will try again.

The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education is expected to approve placing two companion general obligation bond measures on the November ballot.

Despite receiving 61 percent approval from Vallejo voters, Measure E failed to attain the 66 percent approval required by law during the November 2014 election.

VCUSD staff is recommending placing two smaller $139 million bonds on the fall ballot. One is reserved for middle and high schools, while the second will help the district’s elementary schools.

 

Source: Vallejo school board to decide on possible November bonds

Jesse Bethel High School graduates about 350 students – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Adult life now looms large for about 350 seniors in the Jesse Bethel High School class of 2016.

Friends, family members, and “play cousins” were on hand Thursday afternoon at Corbus Field to welcome the graduates into adulthood.

Class salutatorian Maya Miller thanked her parents for helping her reach her goals.

“Through every step of the way, they were there, watching from a distance, waiting to catch me when I stumbled along the way,” Miller said. “Without them, I would not be here today.”

She also addressed all the parents in the packed stands:

“You sit there proud of us, (but) I stand here proud of you,” Miller said.

 

Source: Jesse Bethel High School graduates about 350 students

“Blessed” graduation at Vallejo High School – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Apologies to the cities and residents of American Canyon and Benicia are probably in order after all the noise Wednesday night.

After all, there was a party going on at Corbus Field.

The stands were packed with friends, family members, and loved ones on hand to celebrate Vallejo High School’s commencement.

Both the 240-plus graduates and those in the stands took time to dance, yell, and smile during the ceremony.

Three student speakers set the mood for night, as each offered advice for the future, while also acknowledging the support from family.

Longtime Glen Cove principal retires – Times Herald

By John Glidden

For only the second time since 1988, there will be a leadership change at Glen Cove Elementary School.

Longtime Glen Cove principal Gregory Allison is retiring from the Vallejo City Unified School District after 34 years.

Twenty-seven of those years came at Glen Cove — where Allison first served as vice principal, then as principal for over two decades.

“It’s a challenging job,” Allison said last week. “But I get a great deal of personal satisfaction.”

Allison, 60, added that he is going to miss working with the children.

“I’m going to miss working with children to get them to work on the concept of kindness,” Allison said. “My hope is they have it and learn to never lose kindness.”

Source: Longtime Glen Cove principal retires

Vallejo school board to host bond workshop – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board will engage in a bond workshop Tuesday night to gather information about the legal and fiscal impacts of placing single or multiple school bonds on the November ballot.

A polling firm recently hired by the Vallejo City Unified School District concluded that a single large bond amount of about $285 million for this November “is not viable.”

Instead, according to the most recent results, the firm suggests the Vallejo public would support two companion measures — worth about $139 million each — in November.

One measure would be spent on elementary schools, with the other on middle and high schools, according to the polling results.

Source: Vallejo school board to host bond workshop

Vallejo school board spends over $250,000 for annex improvements – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school authorized the spending of about $258,000 in construction expenses to ready the Vallejo High School Annex for partial use by a charter school in August.

Minus trustee Burky Worel, school board members approved three different expenses during a June 1 meeting.

Caliber Charter School will utilize 21 classrooms at the former Vallejo Middle School site for the 2016-17 school year.

The largest expense approved during the meeting was $176,299 for a paving project which includes installation of a 26,000 square feet asphalt playground.

$82,200 was approved for the installation of fire alarms, power, and data in the portable classrooms, according to district staff.

Source: Vallejo school board spends over $250,000 for annex improvements

Vallejo High School students learn about concussions – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Dr. Bennet Omalu was adamant during a special panel discussion Tuesday morning at Vallejo High School.

“Children younger than 18 should not be allowed to engage in high-impact contact sports,” Omalu said.

Known for his work identifying the relationship between Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and American football players, Omalu was joined by other medial experts, former players, and Congressman Mike Thompson to bring concussion awareness to students at Vallejo High.

The school’s auditorium was packed with students who received expert testimony about concussions and brain injuries.

Omalu, who currently serves as San Joaquin County’s chief medical examiner, was featured in the 2015 film “Concussion” for his work. Actor Will Smith portrayed Omalu.

Source: Vallejo High School students learn about concussions

Everyone’s a winner at Vallejo Special Olympics – Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

The intermittent gusty winds and chilly weather Friday did not stop nearly 200 Vallejo students from having fun and being winners.

The Vallejo school district’s special education students, along with their teachers and families, gathered at Vallejo High School’s Corbus Field for the 44th annual Vallejo City Unified School District Special Olympics.

“It’s great for them to be part of a community event,” said Kathy Hellfeier, Widenmann Elementary special education teacher. “It makes them feel like stars and (helps them) be active for the day.”

via:  Everyone’s a winner at Vallejo Special Olympics – Times Herald

Vallejo school district bonds close to reality – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The placement of two Vallejo school bonds on the November ballot became more of a reality this week.

A divided Vallejo school board authorized staff to continue working with consultants and district legal counsel for placement of the bonds on a fall ballot.

Vallejo City Unified School District Board Vice President Ruscal Cayangyang and trustee Burky Worel voted against the motion.

Adoption of a resolution officially placing the bonds on the November ballot will take place at the July 13 board meeting, district staff said.

A polling firm recently hired by the district concluded that a single large bond amount of about $285 million for this November “is not viable.”

Source: Vallejo school district bonds close to reality

Vallejo’s grad rate goes up, while Benicia’s decreases – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Statewide graduation data released this week shows that the Vallejo school district saw a small increase in its graduation rate, while Benicia experienced a slight dip.

Vallejo City Unified School District’s graduation rate slightly rose to 73.8 percent during the 2014-15 school year, up from 72 percent recorded by the state in 2013-14.

According to the data released Tuesday by the California Department of Education, 700 Vallejo students, from a cohort of 948, graduated in the 2014-15 year.

Continuing the trend since 2009-10, the district’s dropout rate has also dropped in the latest school year to 18.5 percent from 21.3 percent in 2013-14.

Although the district’s graduation rates have constantly increased for the past five years since 2010-11 school year, the cohort numbers have also steadily decreased at the same time.

via: Vallejo’s grad rate goes up, while Benicia’s decreases

Vallejo school board to get another bond update – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Will the Vallejo school board authorize staff to continue preparing a district bond for this November or halt the process now?

The Vallejo City Unified School District Governing Board is expected to make a decision during its meeting Wednesday night.

Should the process continue, staff is recommending the presentation of a facilities master plan revision for the June 15 meeting. Adoption of a resolution placing a bond on the November ballot would take place at the July 13 board meeting, district staff said.

The district last attempted a bond in 2014 with Measure E.

Despite receiving 61 percent approval from Vallejo voters, Measure E — calling for $239 million to address district facilities — failed to attain the 66 percent required by law.

Source: Vallejo school board to get another bond update

Vallejo school board gets update on possible bond – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board is tentatively scheduled to decide this summer whether to place a bond on the November ballot, the district’s chief operations officer said Wednesday night.

Mitchell Romao gave a bond update to the school board, stating the district is eying a board workshop in June to go over legal and financial considerations, followed by a meeting the same month to review a facilities master plan revision, project priorities, and staff recommendations.

Authorization from the board may take place during a meeting in July to place a measure on the November ballot, he added.

Vallejo City Unified School District board trustee Burky Worel said he has “deep reservations” about placing a measure on ballot this year.

Source: Vallejo school board gets update on possible bond

Jesse Bethel receives good accreditation news – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Highlighting that it has strong leadership, an environment of safety, camaraderie, and support for all on the campus, the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges has given Jesse Bethel High School a passing grade.

The commission — the agency that accredits schools from kindergarten through college — took action recently, granting the school a six-year accreditation status through June 30, 2022 after officials toured the campus earlier this year.

“Teachers, school leadership, and district administration deserve a great deal of credit for designing a high school model that meets the needs of an extremely diverse student body,” the visiting team wrote. “Staff has made a number of selfless and difficult decisions in the area of staffing, responsibilities, organization, and accountability in order to meet the needs of students and families.”

Source: Jesse Bethel receives good accreditation news

Vacaville district boasts county’s top teacher, classified employee – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

A Vacaville High School history teacher and a Vacaville administrative assistant are Solano County’s 2016-17 Teacher of the Year and 2016-17 Classified School Employee of the Year.

Ana Farina, who teaches history and advanced placement psychology, was picked Tuesday night as the county’s Teacher of the Year from a field of seven candidates.

“Ana is so versatile and has brought a wealth of knowledge and experience from her previous district,” wrote Vacaville High School Principal Ed Santopadre. “Our students respond well to her and she gets the best out of them.”

Source: Vacaville district boasts county’s top teacher, classified employee