Sprout Touring Film Festival scheduled for Saturday – Times-Herald

By Times Herald

Arc-Solano is hosting the Sprout Touring Film Festival on Saturday which will include many excellent short films featuring people with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

There will be two screenings with the first event scheduled for Saturday inside The Rizza Auditorium at the California State University Maritime Academy campus in Vallejo. The event opens at 5 p.m. and the films begin at 6 p.m.

There will be a no-host concession stand, a raffle/silent auction, and a live auction during the intermission. The live auction will feature artwork created by individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. The evening will finish with a questions and answers session about the films by Anthony Di Salvo, the director of Sprout Films.

Source: Sprout Touring Film Festival scheduled for Saturday – Times-Herald

Vallejo school board holding public hearing on by-trustee maps – Times-Herald

The Vallejo school board is holding a public hearing on Wednesday to receive public input regarding three different by-trustee area maps.

Each proposed map depicts how the district could be split into five distinctive distinct trustee areas, which would go into effect for the November 2020 election.

The Vallejo City Unified School District previously said the change to trustee areas comes as a way to avoid a challenge letter from a third party claiming the district’s at-large election violates the California Voting Rights Act.

Source: Vallejo school board holding public hearing on by-trustee maps [Times-Herald, Vallejo, Calif.]

State schools superintendent discusses education at Solano breakfast – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Elected officials, school board trustees and superintendents from throughout Solano got an understanding Thursday of the current state and future of education at Solano County Office of Education’s annual State of Education Breakfast Forum.

State superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond was the guest speaker.

With the theme of “Full STEAM Ahead,” the breakfast was an opportunity to bring educators, business leaders and elected officials together for a discussion on educational opportunities and showcase what certain school districts are doing to prepare students for the workforce in the new decade, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Source: State schools superintendent discusses education at Solano breakfast – The Reporter

Vallejo school district releases proposed trustee maps – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

As the Vallejo City Unified School District prepares to transition to by-trustee area elections, district officials have released three different maps for community review.

The maps show how the district could be split into five distinct trustee areas, which would go into effect for the November 2020 election.

The board in April approved a resolution to change the election format from at-large, with each trustee being elected by the entire city electorate, to by-trustee areas, meaning each trustee will represent a portion of the city and be elected by residents in that particular area.

Source: Vallejo school district releases proposed trustee maps – Times-Herald

Charter schools rally, march for Global Climate Action Day – Times-Herald

By Richard Freedman

While a 16-year-old Swedish girl chastised politicians on Capitol Hill this week, sister charter schools in Vallejo held a Global Climate Action Rally Day of their own.

Activist Greta Thunberg enlightened the suits in Washington, D.C., hoisting a sign in Swedish “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” (“School Strike for Climate”).

“I don’t want to be heard all the time, but if there is anything I can do to improve the situation then I think it’s a very small price to pay,” Thunberg told CNN.

Young people took to the streets in protest worldwide, including thousands in New York City.

Source: Charter schools rally, march for Global Climate Action Day – Times-Herald

Residents learn about preventing forest fires – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

Two things were certain for little Isadora Grumio, 7, on Saturday in downtown Vallejo.

First: She is a proud student at Annie Pennycook Elementary School. Second: Fake bear scat is still gross even if it’s not real.

“I didn’t like,” Grumio said. “It smelled like rubber. Gross.” She did show off a water bottle that was adorned with the Pennycook name — so Saturday wasn’t a total loss.

Grumio was one of hundreds who stopped by the U.S. Forest Service booth as part of the annual Visions of the Wild Film and Arts Festival. Called the Nature Discovery Zone, fake scat from various animals, including grey wolves, was also on the table.

Source: Residents learn about preventing forest fires – Times-Herald

Dreams become reality for students at historical black college fair in Vallejo – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Willie B. Adkins Scholars Program instructor Tiffanee Jones was overcome with emotion Tuesday afternoon at John Finney High School as she hugged student Tayleese Deans. Jones’ motto at work is to make a dream become a reality and that’s exactly what she was witnessing with kids at the U-CAN go to college Historically Black Colleges and Universities Recruitment Fair.

“All of this is too overwhelming,” Jones said after momentarily crying with tears of joy. “I’ve known a lot of these kids for five to six years, some as far back even as when they were in second grade. It’s been kind of like a relay to college.”

Approximately 25 colleges were at the school’s gym to give students advice and application fee waivers and to be admitted on the spot if qualified. Some were even given scholarships and financial aid if they qualified.

Source: Dreams become reality for students at historical black college fair in Vallejo – Times-Herald

Vallejo school board hosting public hearing on trustee area elections – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board on Wednesday is set to hold its second of two pre-map public hearings in connection with transitioning from at-large to by-trustee area elections.

During the public hearing, residents will have the opportunity to offer their respective opinions on the potential voting areas throughout the city of Vallejo. Currently, all Vallejoans elect the five-person Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education via the at-large format.

The board in April approved a resolution to change the election format to by-trustee area meaning each trustee will represent a portion of the city and be elected by residents in that particular area.

Source: Vallejo school board hosting public hearing on trustee area elections – Times-Herald

Thank you, CC and Amber Sabathia – Times Herald

letter to the Editor/Nestor Aliga

On Aug. 19, CC and Amber Sabathia again shared their valuable time, talents, and treasures with our beloved community. This year, it was with very appreciative students at Joseph Wardlaw Elementary School. Similar to previous years, they will distribute about 3,000 backpacks throughout the school district.

On Aug. 7, the Vallejo City Unified School District unanimously adopted the “CC and Amber Sabathia Day on Aug. 19” resolution, which reads:

• Whereas, Carsten Charles Sabathia, Jr. was born in July 1980 in Vallejo, California, and graduated from Vallejo High School in 1998 where he excelled in baseball, basketball, and football; and as one of highest-paid Major League Baseball pitchers, CC has been a Cy Young Award winner, a six-time All Star, and a World Series Champion, as well as a generous philanthropist in Vallejo; and

Source: Thank you, CC and Amber Sabathia – Times Herald

PitCCh In, Wells Fargo show interest in Lincoln School in Vallejo – Times Herald

By Richard Freedman

Let’s face it, about 200 kids at Lincoln Elementary School likely didn’t care about the teamwork it took to get them free backpacks Tuesday morning with all of life’s necessities like pencils, crayons, rulers, scissors, glue sticks and notebooks.

All that mattered was scoring a much-needed tool to the new year at Vallejo’s oldest elementary school. And that they did.

“It’s incredible,” observed Principal Sandra Nahal. “We have so much need in our community and the students are so grateful and the parents are so grateful. It means a lot.”

Source: PitCCh In, Wells Fargo show interest in Lincoln School in Vallejo – Times Herald

Students return for first day of school in Vallejo – Times Herald

By John Glidden

For a brief moment, it looked like the hallways of Solano Middle School would never clear as students, teachers, and parents clogged the narrow spaces early Monday morning for the first day of classes.

It was a new era for the school on Corcoran Avenue, as kindergarten through fifth-grade students from Elsa Widenmann Elementary School officially joined the new campus — forming the hybrid elementary/middle school of about 800 students.

“It was a bit chaotic,” said parent Carmela, who declined to give her last name. Carmela dropped off her little one for the first day of the fourth grade.

Source: Students return for first day of school in Vallejo – Times Herald

School board asked to look into selling district property – Times Herald

By John Glidden

As the Vallejo school district continues to stave off financial insolvency, the Board of Education will meet Wednesday to establish the process of selling off surplus district-owned property.

In June, the five-person board approved a resolution declaring the district needed to identify over $15 million — $7,750,000 during fiscal years 2020-21, and 2021-22 — in savings to prevent a second state takeover.

Trustees will consider a request from district staff to solicit an appraisal for the Rollingwood property. Located along Rollingwood Drive and Benicia Road, the nearly 18 acres of land is home to four unused little league baseball fields.

Source: School board asked to look into selling district property – Times Herald

Vallejo school board approves new contract with state trustee – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board unanimously approved a new contract at its July 24 meeting with a state trustee tasked with ensuring the school district remains solvent.

Melvin Iizuka will receive up to $56,000 annually to attend Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education meetings each month and monitor the district’s financial condition.

The school district is required by the state of California to have the trustee while the district continues to pay off a $60 million bailout loan it received from the state in 2004.

Source: Vallejo school board approves new contract with state trustee – Times Herald

Upgrades, other work progressing as new school year nears – Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

With the start of the new school year approaching, Vallejo City Unified School District trustees on Wednesday, learned that things seem to be running smoothly with the various campus moves and upgrades.

In his report, Superintendent Adam Clark said that the Widenmann Elementary School campus has been cleared, and everything moved to the new Solano K-8 school campus. The students and faculty of both will share that site, where construction is under way, with new play structures and new furniture going in. The John Finney High School site has also moved, he said.

These changes are part of a consolidation plan to adjust for declining enrollment and also to provide a facility for the Elite Charter School, that was approved by the Solano County Department of Education despite its being rejected by the Vallejo school board. Elite is the project of former Vallejo school superintendent Ramona Bishop.

Source: Upgrades, other work progressing as new school year nears – Times Herald

Amended graduation requirements on Vallejo school board meeting agenda – Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Amended graduation requirements for the alternative high schools and more details about training for the Measure S Citizen’s Oversight Committee are on the agenda for discussion during Wednesday’s Vallejo Unified School District meeting.

The board is expected to vote on a $56,000 contract with a Trustee Melvin Iizuka, appointed by Solano County to keep an eye on its inner workings.

They are also expected to exercise the one-year contract extension option with Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Company, which joined with Eide Bailly LLP on July 15, 2019, to audit the district’s July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 financials.

Source: Amended graduation requirements on Vallejo school board meeting agenda – Times Herald

Vallejo High grad Damany Hendrix begins new job with Vanderbilt – Times Herald

By Thomas Gase

It always helps to have a few good references on your resume. For Damany Hendrix, his top reference just happens to be a two-time all star in the NBA.

Damany Hendrix

After helping the Vallejo High 1998 graduate earn jobs in the NBA G League with the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors organizations, Hendrix was once again called upon by Jerry Stackhouse to help with his coaching staff, this time at the Vanderbilt.

Hendrix’s new job is the new Director of Player Development and Quality Control for Vanderbilt, while Stackhouse is the new head coach.

Source: Vallejo High grad Damany Hendrix begins new job with Vanderbilt – Times Herald

Vallejo area schools among most diverse in U.S. – Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Public schools in Solano County are the most ethnically diverse among mid-size metro areas in the United States, a new study finds. But, this is nothing new to those who work in the Vallejo City Unified School District, one official here said.

Danny Dockterman, the Chief Methodologist of The School Review (www.theschoolreview.com), described the agency as being “dedicated to providing parents with greater transparency into their child’s local schools through comprehensive data and equitable report cards.”

The group grades schools on academics, learning environment and school safety using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the Civil Rights Data Collection and state departments of education, he said.

Source: Vallejo area schools among most diverse in U.S. – Times Herald

Fairies, wood nymphs and unicorns inhabit Solano County Fair – Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

If you look closely, in a green, shady corner of the Solano County Fair, you might catch a glimpse of Mother Nature, seated on her earthy throne near an inflatable unicorn; a forest nymph at her right hand, and winged unicorn fairies at her beck and call.

Also known as Jewel Fink, former prevention program coordinator for the Vallejo City Unified School District, Mother Nature and granddaughter Krista (the forest nymph) Fink both of Dixon, are part of the 2019 Solano County Fair’s Unicorn Garden Party area, located near where First Five Solano operates a giant sandbox, hair and makeup artists and other activities.

At the fair, the Finks are responsible for handing out magic pebbles, pennies for the wishing fountain, and directing people to where fairies read stories to interested children.

Source: Fairies, wood nymphs and unicorns inhabit Solano County Fair – Times Herald

Vallejo’s music teacher hopes to save decades of accumulated stuff – Times Herald

After some 30 years teaching music in the Vallejo City Unified School District, Merlin Chestnut says he doesn’t know what’s going to become of decades worth of equipment, as its longtime home is being razed.

“Where do I put all of our stuff that we use to deliver our music program to students? I mean instruments…all the wind instruments…all the percussion instruments (drums)…all the large keyboard instruments (Marimibas, xylophones, bells, chimes)…all the electronics/sound system…all sheet music/technique materials…props/floors that we recycle to save money…cases for all the percussion…supplies and a myriad of other items linked to the success of our kids,” he said.

“Oh, yeah, and right now it would be nice to have a specific assignment with school(s) and program planning. Also, our kids are preparing for the 166th, 2019 Annual Vallejo 4th of July Parade and Waterfront activities. That pretty much sums it all up in a nutshell.”

Source: Vallejo’s music teacher hopes to save decades of accumulated stuff – Times Herald

Vallejo school district says farewell to one year, prepares for the next – Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

The end of an era, concerns over the state of music instruction, approving millions in budget cuts plus spending millions on transforming district campuses were the main issues at Wednesday’s Vallejo City Unified School District board meeting.

Board trustees heard again that the district’s budget would need to shrink by nearly $8 million next year and the year after to maintain its required 3 percent reserves.

Pam Hatter, the retiring principal of Widenmann Elementary School, told those present that the campus was packed into more than 2,000 boxes and ready for its move to the lower floors of what over the summer will become the Solano/Widenmann K-8 school. The campus of Solano Middle School will undergo a Measure S-funded transformation to accommodate the Widenmann students and faculty, a move made necessary by the launch of the ELITE charter school, which will inhabit the Widenmann campus. Although the Vallejo school board rejected the charter school — the brainchild of former VCUSD superintendent Ramona Bishop — the county office of education approved it, and directed the district to supply it a facility.

Source: Vallejo school district says farewell to one year, prepares for the next – Times Herald