Vallejo school district asked to authorize negotiations for new PR specialist – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Hoping to increase the amount of “positive” news disseminated to the community, the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education will be asked Wednesday during a special meeting to approve authorization for the district to negotiate a contract for a new public relations position.

The negotiation is with Joe Wolfcale for the newly created position Public Relations Consultant Specialist.

“With the successful implementation of various school programs, including our Full Services Community Schools, (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and or Arts) STEAM programs and Wall-to-Wall Academies, it’s important that the public is continuously informed about the positive work that the district accomplishes on a consistent basis,” according to a district staff report.

via Vallejo school district asked to authorize negotiations for new PR specialist.

Bethel High School students watch, experience real trial – Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

Though Alicia Cunningham is only a sophomore in high school, she had a taste of being a juror in a trial Tuesday morning.

Cunningham and 11 other Jesse Bethel High School students were chosen to be part of the “advisory jury” in a real DUI trial as part of the annual Solano County DUI Court in Schools Program.

The school’s theater stage was transformed into a court room, complete with a bailiff, court clerk and court reporter.

“It was interesting,” Cunningham said. “There was a lot of information to absorb and think about, knowing that you are a factor in the outcome (of the trial).”

via Bethel High School students watch, experience real trial.

Vallejo school board to seek a bond consultant – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Encouraged by a 61 percent approval for last fall’s Measure E, the Vallejo school board Wednesday voted 2-1 to approve a request for qualifications for a consultant to provide information services on the feasibility of a school district bond.

With trustees Tony Ubalde and Bury Worel absent, the remaining members of the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education heard an update on funding options for the district.

Mel Jordan, the district’s assistant superintendent for administrative services, said that the district “did extremely well” with last November’s Measure E, a $239 million general obligation bond.

Due to the size of the bond, 66 percent voter approval was required for passage.

via Vallejo school board to seek a bond consultant.

Vallejo school board to mull over poll about new bond measure – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Should the Vallejo school board attempt another general obligation bond worth a few hundred million dollars, or seek a much smaller bond amount in the coming years?

That is the question the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education will discuss Wednesday at its meeting, as district staff seeks board authorization to hire a consultant on the matter.

According to a staff report, a new poll is requested to “seek information on the position of district voters in such areas as facility needs, the cost of facilities, methods to finance facilities and other related issues.”

Once complete, the poll information will be presented to the board, which will determine if the district is going to ask city voters again to support a bond.

via Vallejo school board to mull over poll about new bond measure.

Vallejo schools welcome a new school resource officer – Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo,

Vallejo schools have a new addition.

It’s not a new teacher or student — but an officer.

Nearly seven years after the program was scraped in 2008 due to budgetary issues, Vallejo police Officer Craig Long has been named the city’s School Resource Officer as of the beginning of the year.

Long, 29, has been with the department for a little less than a year, hailing from the El Cerrito Police Department, where he was a full-time patrol, and later traffic, officer since 2011.

He said when the application for the program opened up, he took the opportunity.

“I thought it’d be challenging, but it’ll be worthwhile,” said Long, who is also a U.S. Marine Corps captain and soon-to-be father.

via Vallejo schools welcome a new school resource officer.

Vallejo school board approves agreement with CSEA union – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board unanimously approved a tentative agreement Wednesday night with the local chapter of the California School Employees Association, which represents non-teacher employees of the Vallejo City Unified School District

Per the agreement, the district will increase its contribution to health and welfare benefits by $200 for various health plans, retroactive to July 1, 2014. For the 2015-16 fiscal year, each cell on the CSEA salary schedule will receive a $2,500 per year increase, effective July 1, 2015.

According to a staff report, the estimated cost for the 2014-15 fiscal year will cost the district more than $736,000 and $2,500,000 for the 2015-16 year.

CSEA President Michael Rhodes addressed the board before the vote, thanking the district for working to help the members of the union.

via Vallejo school board approves agreement with CSEA union.

Vallejo Board to get update on accreditation process; asked to approve agreement with union – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board is set to receive information about the accreditation process when four district schools are visited in the spring, according to a Vallejo City Unified School District staff report.

Vallejo Charter School, Vallejo High School, John Finney High School and the Vallejo Regional Education Center will be visited by members of the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges — the agency which accredits schools from kindergarten through college.

Last spring a two-person team with the commission visited Vallejo High, noting in an internal memo that they witnessed students bullying others and threats being minimized by an administrator at the high school.

via Vallejo School Board to get update on accreditation process; asked to approve tentative agreement with union.

Vallejo students pick legal professionals’ brains – Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

Growing up as the only daughter of six siblings growing up in a single-parent household in a seedy part of Richmond was one many anecdotes shared by a Solano County deputy public defender with about 80 students at Jesse Bethel High School on Friday.

“I heard shooting … I saw dead bodies (in the neighborhood),” she said.

She was already married and had a young child when she decided to go to law school, and eventually became a public defender.

Friday’s session at Jesse Bethel the first of three in the Law Academy Mentoring Program, which gives a chance for juniors in the Law and Justice Academy to meet and talk to judges, lawyers and other legal professionals.

via Vallejo students pick legal professionals’ brains.

2014 was an eventful year for Vallejo, Benicia school districts – Times Herald

By John Glidden

2014 proved to be an interesting year for the Vallejo City Unified School District, as the organization was recognized for its wall-to-wall academies, saw the defeat of a much-needed bond measure, opened new hydration stations in many of the school sites, and responded to several third-party reports about the conduct of the district and its employees, among other things.

In October, the district announced that it was a recipient of a “Golden Bell” Award for the Full Service Community School Program implemented throughout the various district schools. The award is given by the California School Boards Association, which represents elected officials who oversee public K-12 school districts.

The FSCS Program is composed of four main sections: Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention, Wall-to-Wall Academies, Positive Youth Justice Initiative and Positive School Cultures.

via 2014 was an eventful year for Vallejo, Benicia school districts.

Vallejo school district loses guardian of student records after 40 years – Times Herald

By John Glidden

At the end of this month, Mary Grant will begin a well-deserved retirement.

After 40 years at the Vallejo City Unified School District, Grant, the lead student records archive technician, will step away from her role as guardian of student records.

Yet, Grant, 64, of Vallejo, said she didn’t expect to be working with the district.

Coming from Alabama, Grant and her husband, Livingston, migrated to California in 1972 with the couple’s 3-year-old child.“

I was only going to work for five years to give myself an opportunity to get used to the West Coast,” Grant said. “But with the birth of our second daughter, we decided I needed to go to work,” Grant added with a laugh.

via Vallejo school district loses guardian of student records after 40 years.

Vallejo school board rejects charter school petition – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education rejected a charter petition Wednesday night for the establishment of the Rise Charter School within the district.

According to the petition, presented by Deb Reeves-Gutierrez, Ron Calloway and Ricky Gutierrez, the group sought to establish a charter school in Vallejo based on a connection between fitness/athletics and academics.

“The petition was analyzed by a number of different departments in the district,” said the district’s chief academic officer, Cheri Summers. “We looked at the petition from a number of different angles and this analysis we conducted was not based on our opinion. Whether we liked it or not, it was based on the education code.”

via Vallejo school board rejects charter school petition.

Parols teach a lesson of culture, teamwork at Bethel High School – Times Herald

By Dianne de Guzman

The star-shaped lanterns at the theater in Jesse Bethel High School were made of every color imaginable, put together with bits of glue, tissue paper, tinsel, wrapping paper — anything the students of Lucy Marte’s Filipino 1 language classes could get their hands on. It was time yet again for the school’s annual Parol Festival and Competition.

Parols are a Christmas tradition in the Philippines; they are star-shaped lanterns meant to symbolize the star of Bethlehem that led the three wise men to the manger where Jesus was born.

Here in Vallejo, the lanterns were part of that larger tradition of the Philippines, but also served as a teaching point for culture, cooperation among students and a symbol of school community.

via Parols teach a lesson of culture, teamwork at Bethel High School.

Vallejo school district official: We have 12 classroom vacancies – Vallejo Times Herald

By John Glidden

So far this school year, the Vallejo City Unified School District has filled more than 100 classroom vacancies, said a district official Wednesday night during the VCUSD Board of Education meeting.

Gigi Patrick, VCUSD’s Director of Human Resources, informed the board that 12 classroom vacancies have yet to be filled: Six at the high school, one middle school, two elementary and three special education levels.

“We interviewed 342 candidates and offered 176 contracts to potential hires with 109 classroom vacancies (being) filled,” Patrick said to the board.

Patrick informed the board that the number of hires for the current school year increased during the last two years from 22 and 70 teachers, respectively.

via Vallejo school district official: We have 12 classroom vacancies – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school board waives reduced meals fee for K-8 students – Vallejo Times Herald

By John Glidden

Hoping to ease the burden on K-8 students who receive reduced breakfast and/or lunch, the Vallejo City Unified School Board of Education Wednesday night approved waiving the fee for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

K-8 students placed in the reduced price category were required to pay 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch, while high school students in the same category were not required to pay any amount for breakfast or lunch, according to a staff report.

“I think this makes a lot of sense,” said trustee Adrienne Waterman. “It’s hard to remember to put 30 cents in the pocket.”

via Vallejo school board waives reduced meals fee for K-8 students – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school board trustee-elect Porter decides to stay with teaching position – Vallejo Times Herald

By John Glidden

Richard Porter has made his official decision: He’s staying with his teaching job within the Vallejo City Unified School District.

Porter — who filed candidacy papers in August to seek election to the VCUSD Board of Education this November — suspended his campaign in early September so he could teach math and science at the Mare Island Health & Fitness Academy.

Despite halting his campaign, more than 7,000 Vallejo voters decided to elect him, placing him second out of three available seats. Porter recorded nearly 5,000 vote-by-mail votes and just over 2,000 votes at the polls, according to unofficial results posted to the county website.

via Vallejo school board trustee-elect Porter decides to stay with teaching position – Vallejo Times Herald.

Grace Patterson students and parents craft mosaic – Vallejo Times Herald

By John Glidden

Sophia Othman watched with a smile late Thursday afternoon as several young girls ran up and inspected the new mosaic mural at Grace Patterson Elementary School.

The girls touched and pointed to their favorite sections of the mural. Some even showed off the part of the mosaic they worked on, as they danced and played in front of the mural.

Othman smiled because the girls took pride and ownership in the mural — the main reason for the creation of the colorful glass mosaic.

via Grace Patterson students and parents craft mosaic – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo superintendent vows district will attempt another bond – Vallejo Times Herald

By John Glidden

Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Ramona Bishop vowed Wednesday night that one day city voters will approve a new bond measure for the district.

During Wednesday night’s board of education meeting, Bishop praised the efforts of the committee organized to get the measure passed and said that 60 percent is still a good number.

As of Wednesday, the district’s Measure E — a $239 million general obligation bond, which would have helped to renovate various school district sites if approved — had received more than 9,000 votes. That is good for 59 percent, but failed to garner the 66 percent voter approval required, according to unofficial results listed on the Solano County Registrar of Voter’s website.

via Vallejo superintendent vows district will attempt another bond – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school district set to approve tentative agreement with teachers – Vallejo Times Herald

Times-Herald staff report Posted:

The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education will be asked Wednesday to approve a tentative agreement between the district and the Vallejo Education Association, which represents all district teachers.

The tentative agreement includes a 1.5 percent salary increase, elimination of current steps in rows 15, 17, 19, 21 and 22 and an increase in the district’s contribution to single employee health care benefits to $500, retroactive to July 1, 2014 for the 2014-15 school year, according to a district staff report.

via Vallejo school district set to approve tentative agreement with teachers – Vallejo Times Herald.

Measure E falls flat – The Reporter

By John Glidden

Vallejo voters closed their checkbooks Tuesday night.

Despite receiving over nine thousand votes, good for 59 percent, the Vallejo City Unified School District’s Measure E failed to garner the 66 percent voter approval required, according to unofficial results listed on the Solano County Registrar of Voter’s website.

Measure E is a $239 million general obligation bond, which would have helped to renovate various school district sites, if approved.

“It’s an excellent start,” said Deborah Dickson, chair of the Committee to Fix Our Schools — Yes on Measure E, after seeing the vote-by-mail numbers, which gave the measure a then 58 percent approval. “We ran a hard race.”

via Measure E falls flat – The Reporter.

Measure E campaign raises $29,500 — much from outside of Vallejo – The Reporter

By John Glidden

The month of October has been quite fruitful for the Committee to Fix Our Schools – Yes on Measure E campaign, which took in more than half of its total donations from various groups located outside of Vallejo, according to financial documents submitted to the Solano County Registrar of Voters for the Oct. 1-18 reporting period.

Of the $29,500 raised by the campaign, documents show $20,600 coming from groups outside Vallejo.

Van Pelt Construction Services and Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, Inc. each contributed $5,000 to the campaign. Both companies helped craft the district’s Phase 1 Implementation Plan for the Facilities Master Plan.

via Measure E campaign raises $29,500 — much from outside of Vallejo – The Reporter.