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

Volunteer crews eliminate blight for Earth Day – Times Herald

By Matthew Adkins

Mother Earth sighed with relief Saturday as volunteers donated time picking up trash in Vallejo and surrounding areas.

Local efforts focused primarily at Blue Rock Springs Creek, South Vallejo and nearby state parks.

Hogan Middle School also held a cleanup operation, as did a team of volunteers at the Napa River Bay Trail in American Canyon.

Mayor hopeful Landis Graden was joined with a team of people who took part in the cleanup efforts in the southern part of Vallejo Saturday.

“The cleanup was inspiring,” Graden said. “It was very nice. We had a great turnout of all age groups and races. People from all parts of town came to help. Everyone was very enthusiastic.

Source: Volunteer crews eliminate blight for Earth Day

Bethel High softball’s Alyssa Esparza is Athlete of the Week – Times Herald

By Thomas Gase

On April 12 of this year, Bethel High sophomore Alyssa Esparza turned 16 years old.

Turning 16 can be a big thing for anyone. Some people are often given a big present or even thrown a party. Some, if they are really lucky, get a car since this is the year they will be able to acquire a license.

Esparza wasn’t given the keys to any ignition, but the softball player was given a lot of pitches at the plate that she was able to drive.

The Jaguar went 2-for-4 at the plate that day and hit a home run in a 13-3 home win over Fairfield. As a belated birthday gift, she collected four more hits on Thursday in a crucial extra-inning win at American Canyon. She also pitched and earned the wins in both games in the circle with complete-game victories.

via: Beth High softballs’ Alyssa Esparza is Times-Herald athlete of the week

Exercise exposes Vallejo students to drunk driving dangers – Times Herald

By Matthew Adkins

The silhouette of a helicopter in the sky grew larger as it approaches NorthBay Medical Center Thursday in Fairfield.

As it touched down in the landing zone outside of the emergency room, a team of people moved forward with a gurney ready to receive a patient.

Josh McClendon, 17, a senior at Jesse Bethel High School, was rushed from the helicopter into a staging room where beds and devices had already been prepared. Gruesome gashes sustained only a few minutes earlier during a car crash uncontrollably leaked blood from his forehead and arm.

Source: Exercise exposes Vallejo students to drunk driving dangers

Family night at Vallejo school builds relationships – Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

It was called “Spring Family Night,” but truly it was a community night at a Vallejo elementary school.

About 100 families of Lincoln Elementary School students spent a couple of hours at the school Tuesday afternoon for some information, resources and entertainment.

“Not a lot of the families, especially in downtown area, are aware of what’s going on in school,” said Angel Banks, the school’s academic support provider. “A lot of the families are just trying to make it, … and they may not be aware of the resources that are available for them.”

The school organizes two family nights each school year — fall and spring — as part of its effort as a full-service community school in Vallejo.

“We want to be able to meet the family’s basic needs, recognizing that meeting those needs directly correlates with the students’ achievement in school,” Banks said.

via: Times Herald

Drumlines, winterguards hold exhibition at Jesse Bethel – Times Herald

By Matthew Adkins

As schools bands around the county wrap up their winter season, students are holding one last performance to showcase their talent.

Jesse Bethel High School played host on Friday to the annual Winter Drumline and Colorguard Exhibition.

The high school’s gymnasium was standing-room only as hundreds of students in full costume put on their winter shows for the crowd.

Eight teams from area high schools took turns playing percussion instruments and performing elaborate choreographed dances with props.

Source: Drumlines, winterguards hold exhibition at Jesse Bethel

Vallejo school board looks to protest water rates – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A proposed water rate increase in Vallejo will likely not receive support from the school district.

Wednesday night the Vallejo school board called for a special Friday meeting so it could officially direct staff to submit 26 protest letters, one for each piece of district property.

If the increase is approved by the Vallejo City Council, the district will be required to pay more than $1.3 million annually for water by 2020, according to a Vallejo City Unified School District staff report. Currently, the district pays over $500,000 annually.

The money would come from the district’s general fund, district staff said.

The harshest critic of the increase has been VCUSD Trustee Burky Worel, who contends the city council “could care less” about the district.

Source: Vallejo school board looks to protest water rates

Vallejo High School – Always Something To Celebrate – Times Herald

Vallejo High School shines: In the midst of all of the negative publicity that Vallejo High School receives on a regular basis, it is sometimes easy to us to forget that the lives and educations of VHS students continue on whether or not we are reporting—and believe me when I say that remarkable things are happening! Back on Jan. 13, Iand a group of 56 of my students, along with English teacher, Matt Boyd; counselor, Rhea Brooks; new administrator, Dr. Angela Walker; and two chaperons bussed down to Bakersfield, CA for the 17th Annual California International Virtual Enterprise Trade Show and 2nd Annual Business & Entrepreneurship Conference.

Source: April 7 Vallejo A&E Source: Always Something To Celebrate

Vallejo school board to get info on water protest – Times Herald

By John Glidden

One of the city’s largest water consumers is poised to protest Vallejo’s proposed water rate increase.

During its meeting Wednesday, the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education will receive information on submitting letters of protest regarding a proposed water increase, which, if approved by the city council, will require the district to pay $1.2 million annually for water by 2020. Currently, the district pays $493,261 annually for water.

The district has the opportunity to submit a protest letter for each of the 56 properties owned by VCUSD.

The city’s Water Division is seeking $85 million or 80 percent of full funding needed to reduce deferred maintenance to Vallejo’s aging water system over the next 10 years.

Source: Vallejo school board to get info on water protest

Solano Adult Education Consortium meets April 4 – The Reporter

The Solano Adult Education Consortium will hold its monthly meeting from 2 to 5 p.m. April 4 at Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Bldg. 400, Room 414, in Fairfield.

The agenda for the meeting will include: 1) action item on direct funding 2) diploma program requirements 3) formalize changes to 2015-2016 plan 4) review of recommended changes for 2016-17 plan.

Solano County Adult Education consortium meetings are open to the public and interested community members are invited to attend.

Consortium members are: Fairfield-Suisun Adult School, Vacaville Education Extension Program, Vallejo Regional Career Center, Solano Community College, Benicia Unified School District, and Solano County Office of Education.

Source: Solano Adult Education Consortium meets April 4

Vallejo school board receives info on proposed water increase – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A Vallejo school board trustee believes the city council doesn’t care about the impact a proposed water rate increase will have on the school district.

During the March 14 Vallejo City Unified School District board meeting, trustee Burky Worel made his comments while Martin Querin, the city’s assistant public works director for water, made a presentation.

The school district currently pays $493,261 annually for water. Under the proposed increase, that rate will jump to $1,201,376 annually by 2020.

Worel expressed anger toward the proposed increase.

“The city is trying to take money from the school district,” he explained to Querin. “The city council does not care.”

Source: Vallejo school board receives info on proposed water increase

Vallejo School Board rejects move to eliminate position – Times Herald

By John Glidden

For the second time in 11 months, the Vallejo school board rejected a plan to eliminate a buyer position within the Vallejo City Unified School District.

During a special March 9 meeting, the board decided to retain a second Buyer II position, even though it has been vacant since January.

The position creates purchase orders, schedules vendor shipments and maintains records for the district.

A badly divided board, in a 3-2 vote, rejected a similar request from district staff, last May.

At that time, both Buyer II positions were filled, district staff sought permission to issue a layoff notice to one of the employees.

However, at the end of 2015, one of the incumbents retired, creating a vacancy, which the district has not filled.

Source: Vallejo School Board rejects move to eliminate position

Solano County students immersed in agriculture on Youth Ag Day – Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

Thousands of third graders descended upon the Solano County Fairgrounds on Tuesday for the 15th annual Youth Ag Day.

The Solano County students had a day filled with hands-on experience with all-things agriculture, including livestock, plants, bugs and even composting and butter churning, among other things.

“Part of our mission is agriculture educations and third grade is a great age group,” fairgrounds General Manager Stephen Pierce said. “They are excited and it’s a good time to plant the seeds in them to explore a career in agriculture if they want to.”

Source: Solano County students immersed in agriculture on Youth Ag Day

Vallejo school board to receive information on polling results – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A nearly three hundred million dollar general bond that would help aging Vallejo school infrastructure would not be supported by the community if such a bond was placed on the November ballot, says a firm which surveyed hundreds of potential Vallejo voters in January.

The Vallejo school board is expected to receive these results during its meeting Wednesday night.

Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates firm (FM3), which conducted the 400 public opinion telephone interviews has concluded that such a single large bond amount of about $285 million “is not viable.”

The board hired FM3 to conduct a similar survey in June 2013 regarding a potential bond measure. About 62 percent surveyed in 2013 said they would support a school bond measure.

Source: Vallejo school board to receive information on polling results