By Times Herald Staff
A Vallejo City Unified School District delegation, led by superintendent Ramona Bishop, participated in a gathering of educators on Wednesday at the White House.
Bishop, Sheila Gradwohl, president of Vallejo Education Association — the union representing Vallejo teachers — and Ralph Barnette, California School Employees Association — the union representing classified district employees — gathered for the “Rethink Discipline” day-long conference.
According to the White House, the event was a national convening and conversation held on improving school discipline policies and practices. At the meeting, participants discussed new tools and resources to be released by the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, an interagency initiative launched by the administration in 2011, along with data and research that underscores the need for further action, White House officials added.
via Vallejo school delegation participates in White House conference.
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Because an actual, paying job in one’s field of study adds an important dimension to book learning, a partnership between the Vallejo school district and many city businesses started a third year of a work experience program earlier this week.
Putting Our Youth to Work, Supporting Youth Through HIRE Education is an eight-week summer internship program that matches high school juniors and seniors with positions related in some way to their chosen academy studies, district spokeswoman Alana Shackleford said on Friday.
“Our endeavor is to provide the youth of Vallejo with firsthand work experience that will yield good training in work behavior and skills,” she said in a statement. Though the first students started working in their part-time or full-time local jobs Monday, more job options are always welcome and students can still sign up for a waiting list, Shackleford said. Interns work a maximum of 200 hours between June 22 and Aug. 14, she said. School starts the following week. Some 120 students are already enrolled in the program this year, she said.
via Vallejo high school students team with local employers for summer.
By Dianne de Guzman
Summer is looking to be a great time for basketball fans in Vallejo.
With the Bay Area still excited from the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA title, the tipoff for Late Night Basketball at Vallejo High School on Friday could not have been timed better.
From 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday night, kids and young teens from ages 12 to 25 crowded the gym shooting hoops — as well as meeting community members and police officers, getting health screenings or learning about conflict resolution.
via Vallejo’s ‘Midnight basketball’ attracts hundreds of players.
By Dianne de Guzman
Vallejo High School’s basketball courts could be packed this summer as part of the city’s new “midnight basketball” program, iBallVallejo, which starts Friday night.
Local teens and young adults are being invited to Bottari Gym between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. to not only shoot some hoops on Friday and Saturday nights, but to take part in a host of other services being offered: Health screenings, such as eye exams and dental checkups, CPR training, learning about conflict resolution or refreshing interview skills (just to name a few).
The program was created in cooperation between a number of local groups, law enforcement and school officials in what they hope will not only be a fun diversion for teens in town, but also a way to build community and relationships with local law enforcement and the courts.
via ‘Midnight basketball’ to start Friday at Vallejo High School.
By John Glidden
Richard Porter has left the Vallejo City Unified School District after one year with the organization.
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Porter — who taught at Franklin Middle School — said he is moving on from the school district to be the interim-executive director at the Global Center for Success.
The center works with various agencies to help homeless undeserved individuals in the community.
He will replace executive director Elvie DeLeon at the end of the month.
According to the district’s personnel actions, Porter is retiring from the district.
VCUSD Superintendent Ramona Bishop said during Wednesday’s school board meeting that Porter has accrued time as an educator, thus his ability to retire after one year with the district.
via Richard Porter moves on from Vallejo school district.
By Richard Freedman
Juneteenth is about freedom. And equal rights. And, in honoring the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery, the importance of reading is the theme at Saturday’s Vallejo Juneteenth Celebration at City Park.
Children 8 and under will be given a free book. Two Kindle readers will be won in a drawing during the book fair, with a mural painted at the park helping children focus on literacy, literature and the arts.
“The connection to Juneteenth is basically that slaves weren’t allowed to learn to read,” said Angela Jones, Juneteenth Central Committee president.
It’s reading, added Jones, “that is the foundation of empowerment and success, and that ties into the small business entrepreneurs who promote their businesses at the event.”
via Reading the theme at Vallejo Juneteenth Celebration at City Park.
By Irma Widjojo
The bleachers at Corbus Field were packed Thursday night by hundreds of people who were celebrating their championship.
No, it wasn’t a football game — it was the graduation ceremony of the Vallejo High School seniors.
More than 320 students dressed in red and white cap and gowns received their diplomas Thursday at the ceremony signifying the end of their high school career.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” co-salutatorian Wing Chu said in her speech. “We saw the birth of the ninth grade academy, change of mascots, … We’ve been through a lot. But we’ve come out unscathed.”
Another salutatorian Izabela Tolentino reminded her classmates that the future is unpredictable.
“Although the pieces might not fit your picture, the pieces might fit another picture,” Tolentino said.
In the same spirit valedictorian Marah Uy also encouraged the other graduates to never give up.
via Vallejo High seniors embark on new journey.
By Susan Hiland
A Girls on the Run Napa & Solano event took place May 9 at Napa Valley College. to celebrate the women and their families through a 5K run that saw participants from Solano County schools.
More local girls took part this year with 440 participants versus 309 last fall, according to a press release about the event. Organizers hit new levels of overall participation with 825 runners and total of 1,200 in attendance, to include spectators.
Solano County schools whose students took part in the run include Crescent Middle School, Dan O. Root Elementary School, K.I. Jones Elementary School, Anna Kyle Elementary School, Cleo Gordon Elementary School, Tolenas Elementary School, Cordelia Hills Elementary School, the Fairfield Police Activities League and the Matt Garcia Youth Center, Cooper Elementary School, Fairmont Elementary School and Steffan Manor Elementary School.
via Good News: Solano schools participate in Girls on the Run event.
By Kevin W. Green
High school students from Fairfield, Vallejo and Benicia are studying local creeks as part of the Solano Resource Conservation District’s biomonitoring program this year.
The agency is working with 282 high school students to study macroinvertebrates in five creeks in the county, according to a press release from the district.
The program, which is in its eighth year, involves students from Fairfield High School, Jesse Bethel and Vallejo high schools in Vallejo and Benicia High School. The students also participated in restoration work in the Blue Rock Springs Creek Corridor, working with Solano Resource Conservation District restoration staff to help plant 12,000 native grass plugs and 1,200 trees and shrubs, the district said.
via High school students study creeks via monitoring program Daily Republic.
By John Glidden
For a brief moment, it was thought that the “Drop the Mic Talent Show” Thursday night at Vallejo High School might be shut down due to the occasional use of profanities by students.
Good news for the students who performed, because they had something to say.
Poet Tyler Dudley kicked off the show expressing her fear and anger over the rash of police brutality cases against African-Americans.
During her performance, Dudley asked why police officers double or triple check cars they think may contain drugs, but can’t take the time to check whether they have pulled their Taser stun gun or service weapon before use.
Dudley was referencing several notable cases where law enforcement officials mistakenly used guns instead of their Tasers.
via Vallejo High School students put on talent show.
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 193 middle schools and 180 high schools have been honored under the states new Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program, which is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program.
“These schools are academically successful, vibrant, and innovative centers of learning and teaching,” Torlakson said. “They provide great examples of the things educators are doing right—embracing rigorous academic standards, providing excellence and creativity in teaching, and creating a positive school climate.”
The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment and accountability systems.
Schools applied for the award based on a model program their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The new award is recognizing middle and high schools this year and elementary schools in 2016.
via 2015 California Gold Ribbon Schools Award – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
By Richard Bammer
C.A. Jacobs Intermediate School in Dixon, on Tuesday was among nearly 200 California middle schools that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson honored under the state’s new Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program, which is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program.
Two other Solano County public schools, also deemed Title 1, or low-income, were cited. They were the Mare Island Technology Middle School and MIT Academy High, both in Vallejo City Unified and the latter among 180 high schools designation for the honor. All were recognized as Title I Academic Achieving Schools, too.
“These schools are academically successful, vibrant, and innovative centers of learning and teaching,” Torlakson said in a press release. “They provide great examples of the things educators are doing right — embracing rigorous academic standards, providing excellence and creativity in teaching, and creating a positive school climate.”
via Dixon middle school earns Gold Ribbon honor.
By Susan Winlow
A Fairfield High School history teacher and a classified employee from Lincoln Elementary School in Vallejo took home top honors Wednesday at Solano County’s Educator of the Year award ceremony.
Both Jeanine Cortes, an office manager whose father and son went to Lincoln, and Shari Patterson were emotional as their names were called during the ceremony at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center. Both won among a pool of district winners and will move on to the state contest.
This is the second year in a row that the Fairfield-Suisun School District has taken home top educator honors. Last year’s Teacher of the Year was Michelle Labelle-Fisch from K.I. Jones Elementary School, who went on to become a state semifinalist.
via Fairfield, Vallejo educators bring home top awards Daily Republic.
By Irma Widjojo
While the Benicia Unified School District remained stable, the Vallejo City Unified School District saw a higher graduation rate — and a lower dropout rate — in the 2013-2014 school year, according to data released by the California Department of Education on Tuesday.
American Canyon High School, however, saw a slight dip.
The Vallejo school district had a 72 percent graduation rate and a 21.2 dropout rate last year, which was an improvement from the 65 percent graduation and 27.6 dropout rates in the 2013 cohort. However, the district’s graduation rate is still lower than the national rate at 80.8 percent.
The increase in graduation is reflective of the statewide trend. The 2014 state data showed an 0.4 of a percentage point increase from the year before.
via State data shows more Vallejo students graduated.
By Dianne de Guzman
Instead of kids sitting at desks in the classrooms of Federal Terrace Elementary School, parents were there learning a thing or two on Tuesday night.
The event is called Spring Family Night and parents were invited into classrooms to take part in three different workshops addressing different areas of family life.
This spring, schools offered workshops on nutrition, financial education and technology. This is all done as part of Vallejo City Unified School District’s full-service community school program, that works on helping students improve academically by offering services for families.
Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Ramona Bishop said that by having parents attend workshops, such as nutrition education, the classes help the whole family — not to mention the student.
“Years ago, we started our full-service community schools and this is just part of what the program does,” Bishop said. “(Spring Family Night) allows our families to learn things that they need to keep those students healthy.”
via Family Night connects Vallejo schools with parents.
By Susan Winlow
Superstition usually dictates that 13 is an unlucky number but in the case of 13 local music teachers, it’s kicked the unlucky descriptor.
The Donald and Rose Marie Wong Endowment Fund chose the teachers to receive music program mini grants through a competitive application process. The grants total $17,500 with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.
The list includes teachers from districts, charter and private schools throughout Solano County, with the bulk coming from Vallejo and Vacaville.
via Music teachers receive program grants Daily Republic.
By John Glidden
Many in Vallejo may not know it, but Patrice L. Lewis is a ninja.
A community ninja.
The 2006 Jesse Bethel High School graduate helps behind the scenes, avoiding the spotlight while trying to strengthen the city she calls home, looking to “spread community and love.”Lewis, 26, who self identifies as a ”budding” historian, can rightfully call herself an “established” bridge-builder in the community. She is a key member of the Vallejo Together service organization, member of the local chapter of the NAACP and an avid supporter/participant of each year’s Youth Expo & Parent Summit put together by the Vallejo school district, Vallejo Together and the Solano County Collaborative HIV/AIDS Awareness.
via Vallejo’s Patrice Lewis continues to build and study community.
By Richard Freedman
DeMareon Gipson doesn’t gloss over his difficult Vallejo childhood.
“Pretty tumultuous,” is how the 22-year-old described his youth. “It definitely was not the most adequate or healthy thing.”
But the 2010 Vallejo High School graduate wouldn’t let a tough life get the best of him. Not when he had dreams, goals, and the courage to rise above whatever anger or bitterness he had.
“I learned a lot from it,” he said of his teen years. “Part of that motivates me. I just didn’t want to live my life of ‘what if’ when I have the potential to do something regardless of the obstacles put in front of me.”
A second-year student at San Francisco State University, Gipson was eloquent and dapper for this interview, proud of his first book of poetry, “Looking Forward,” which took most of 2014 to write.
via Vallejo High grad hopes poetry book inspires others.
Teachers, paraeducators, school secretaries, computer technicians and school staff all contribute to student achievement, educational innovation and community involvement in Solano County’s schools, so the best of them will be honored at a special reception in April, county schools officials announced Tuesday.
The Solano County Office of Education will honor 14 school district employees nominated for the 2015-16 Solano County Educators of the Year (EOY). A reception, starting at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29, at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center in Suisun City, will celebrate the many accomplishments and commitment of these devoted educators and school staff to the success of our public school students.
“The Educators of the Year program is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication of our teachers and school staff,” said Jay Speck, Solano County Superintendent of Schools. “These individuals have all made significant contributions to student achievement and a positive school climate.”
via Solano to honor top educators in April.
By Richard Freedman
It could be about bullying. Or staying in school. Or refraining from alcohol and drugs. Or smoking.
The topic of the day may have changed in the 30 years Spencer “Spinny” Johnson has delivered his motivational talks and basketball tricks to America’s young students. But the kids? Still the same, said Johnson, 62, in Vallejo on Tuesday for assemblies at Lincoln, Glen Cove, and Patterson elementary schools.
“The kids really haven’t changed. The problems change,” said Johnson. “The kids now do see so much and witness so much with TV and computers.”
via ‘Spinny’ brings hoop tricks, message to Vallejo schools.