Vallejo students earn English proficiency status – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

Hundreds of Vallejo students celebrated a milestone Wednesday when they received certificates of English proficiency.

“I’m happy,” said Brian Munguia, 10, a fifth-grader at Dan Mini Elementary School and one of 26 students from that campus to be reclassified as fluent English proficient.

Students who are learning English have two opportunities a year for reclassification — once in the fall, and another in the spring, said Marietta Tretasco, assistant director for categorical and English language learners at the Vallejo City Unified School District.

via Vallejo students earn English proficiency status – Vallejo Times Herald.

Public health ‘heroes’ recognized in special Touro University ceremony – Vallejo Times Herald

Times-Herald staff Posted:

More than 50 people gathered at Touro University Farragut Inn in Vallejo to honor six recipients chosen as this year’s Public Health Heroes.

These are Touro students and officials who have demonstrated “significant contributions and a commitment to public health service and research,” according to a school announcement.

The College of Education and Health Sciences Public Health Program selected six members representing Touro students, faculty and community members as the “2014 Public Health Heroes.”

“All our recipients are visionaries who stand at the intersection of health and the well-being of our communities with a focus on underserved populations,” said Touro’s Western Division Senior Provost and CEO Shelley Berkley in a prepared statement.

via Public health ‘heroes’ recognized in special Touro University ceremony – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo schools, superintendent mark April anniversaries – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

A decade ago, the Vallejo City Unified School District was on the verge of financial collapse, saved only when the state took control of the ailing system.

Today, a year after that control was returned to the Vallejo school board, the district is a much different — and healthier — place, school officials say.

New programs abound in the district, from its full-service community schools to the wall-to-wall academies, as the school board works not only to stabilize the district’s financial situation, but also to shed years of poor student outcomes.

via Vallejo schools, superintendent mark April anniversaries – Vallejo Times Herald.

Report gives low marks to Bay Area districts for teaching poor, Latinos, blacks – Vallejo Times Herald

By Sharon Noguchi

When it comes to educating Latino, African-American and poor students, Bay Area school districts do at best a mediocre job, according to a report published Tuesday by an Oakland-based education advocacy group.

The Vallejo City Unified School District earned an overall grade of D. And though overall improvement among students of color and low-income students fell to a D from a C last year, the district did improve the size of the achievement gap between black and white students (from a D to a C) and between Latino and whites (from a C to a B).

In Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, seven districts earned a D-plus, the average for the four counties. Seven districts earned a D. San Jose Unified — which has a 52 percent Latino and 3 percent black population — was among them.

via Report gives low marks to Bay Area districts for teaching poor, Latinos, blacks – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school board to discuss Mare Island Technology Academy, cutting of positions – Vallejo Times Herald

Times-Herald Posted:

The Vallejo school board will meet twice this week.

During its regular meeting today, the board will be asked to approve cutting the equivalent of fewer than two classified positions.

The board will be asked to eliminate eight hours from the adult school registrar position, four from a clerk, and one each from a site safety supervisor and teacher assistant.

The board also will get an update on Mare Island Technology Academy, the Vallejo City Unified School District’s first charter school. Additionally, the board will hear about the progress of the Local Control Accountability Plan, part of the state’s new method of funding districts.

via Vallejo school board to discuss Mare Island Technology Academy, cutting of positions – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vacaville youth takes top honor at county spelling bee – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

For the second time in as many years, Vacaville boasts the top elementary speller in Solano County.

Francis Agbayani, a Browns Valley Elementary sixth-grader, correctly spelled “lackadaisical,” besting Hans Romero, a sixth-grader at Solano Middle School in Vallejo, who stumbled on “perseverance.”

After each boy went toe-to-toe through more than two dozen words, including one shared slip-up, Francis, standing onstage Tuesday night at the Nelson Community Center in Suisun City, beamed and raised his arms overhead in victory.

The 11-year-old had realized his quest, three years in the making, after losing out twice in the Grace B. Powell Citywide Spelling Bee and last year to Alex Topp at the city and county bees. Agbayani claimed top honors at the 2014 city bee on Feb. 5.

via Vacaville youth takes top honor at county spelling bee – The Reporter.

Vallejo students explore career options – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

Jennifer Ugochekwu of Vallejo always thought she wanted to be an artist when she grew up — until she met Tucky McKey.

“His art inspires me to be an artist one day,” said Jennifer, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at North Hills Christian School who attended the campus’ fourth annual college and career fair on Friday.

McKey, of Tucky Art, was one of about two dozen entrepreneurs, college representatives or companies that participated in the career fair.

via Vallejo students explore career options – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo schools mull transgender student law – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

The Vallejo school board delved into the complex issue of gender identity Wednesday as it discussed the implications of a new law guaranteeing the rights of transgender students.

At issue is AB 1266, also known as the School Success and Opportunity Act, which went into effect in January.

Among other things, the law mandates schools to provide facilities to transgender students based on their gender identity. A transgender person is one who identifies as a gender different from what was assigned at birth, said Phillip Shelley, director of school support and management for the Vallejo City Unified School District.

 

via Vallejo schools mull transgender student law – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school board to discuss new student rights at workshop – Vallejo Times Herald

Times-Herald staff Posted:

The Vallejo school board will hold a workshop Wednesday to discuss the impact on the Vallejo City Unified School District of a new law assuring transgender students of certain rights.

AB 1266, passed last year, took effect in January and guarantees transgender students the use of the bathroom and locker facilities of their gender identity as well as participate in any corresponding sex-segregated activities, such as sports.

The district is familiar with dealing with lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender issues in its schools. In 2009, the American Civil Liberties Union and the district reached a settlement with an out lesbian Jesse Bethel High School student who alleged that district staff harassed her because of her sexuality.

via Vallejo school board to discuss new student rights at workshop – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo schools upgrade tech in advance of field tests – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

Vallejo students will participate next month in a statewide assessment of new, entirely computerized standardized tests.

California this year is skipping most of its own exams to focus on field testing the Smarter Balance Assessment, an online test based on the new Common Core Standards adopted by most states.

“We are vastly ramping up for (the field test),” said LaTonya Derbigny, director of school and student accountability for the Vallejo City Unified School District, of the district’s preparations.

This spring’s testing is an evaluation of both the questions and technical aspects of the new Smarter Balance Assessments, not what students know, and there will be no evaluation of student performance.

via Vallejo schools upgrade tech in advance of field tests – Vallejo Times Herald.

Youth intervention to stem violence focus of Vallejo town hall gathering – Vallejo Times Herald

By Sarah Rohrs

 

Rather than throwing the book at them if they commit crimes in their formative years, youth need to be steered into learning, instead, and into a path leading to college rather than prison.

Two congressmen voiced that sentiment Monday during a Town Hall forum held at Jesse Bethel High School. Attended by about 100 teens and other community members, the forum also touched on local violence and crime.

“We can lock up an even greater proportion of the population or take preventive measures early so that they don’t get into trouble in the first place,” said Rep. Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia.

via Youth intervention to stem violence focus of Vallejo town hall gathering – Vallejo Times Herald.

High standards pay off for Teacher of the Year Ainsley Harris – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

It’s a good thing Ainsley Harris’ principal waited until the end of the day to tell her the good news.

“I was a wreck,” said Harris, of the smiles and tears of joy she shed when she learned she was the Vallejo City Unified School District Teacher of the Year.

Harris formally accepted her plaque at Wednesday’s school board meeting.

via High standards pay off for Teacher of the Year Ainsley Harris – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school board OKs layoff notices for 40 positions – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

The Vallejo school board approved Wednesday issuing preliminary layoff notices to teachers while expressing regret for the procedure.

“Its a draconian process,” trustee Adrienne Waterman said of the legal requirement for districts to notify certificated employees of potential layoffs by March 15.

On the list this year were the equivalent of 25 full-time teaching positions at the elementary school.

Sheila Gradwohl, president of the Vallejo Education Association, said it was difficult for teachers who received layoff notices, especially if they will be rehired by the district again later in the budget process.

via Vallejo school board OKs layoff notices for 40 positions – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school board to tackle layoffs – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes Times

March in the Vallejo City Unified School District will again be marked with layoff notices — albeit at a considerably reduced level than previous years.

The district will ask the school board Wednesday for authorization to preliminary eliminate the equivalent of more than 25 full-time teaching positions at elementary schools.

By law, the district must inform certificated employees by March 15 of possible layoffs, though those notices can be rescinded during the later stages of the budget process.

The brunt of the 25 positions under consideration are teacher leaders.

via Vallejo school board to tackle layoffs – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo educator, Joe Jones readies for retirement – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

A lot of kids have that teacher, that one person who seems to give sense to the world outside the classroom.For Joe Jones, it was John Bowen.

“My goal was to teach U.S. History at Solano Middle (School) in Room 22 and coach the basketball team,” said Jones, inspired by Bowen not only to pursue education, but to teach in his very classroom.

Jones reached that goal more than four decades ago. On March 7, the longtime Vallejo educator will loosen his tie, hang up his suit and retire on his 63rd birthday.

via Vallejo educator, Joe Jones readies for retirement – Vallejo Times Herald.

Black struggles, triumphs on display at Vallejo High School – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

The past might have been the theme during Saturday’s Black History Month celebration at Vallejo High School, but present struggles and future hopes were very much on the minds of the presenters.

“Because of our skin color, we’re not expected to make it or do anything with our lives,” lamented Madison Washington, a senior and president of the Black Student Union on campus.

This is the second year the club has joined with event organizer Askari Sowonde to put together a Black History Month program, highlighting local talent and remembering the travails of the African diaspora from slavery to Trayvon Martin.

via Black struggles, triumphs on display at Vallejo High School – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school board begins new budgeting process – Vallejo Times Herald

By Jessica A. York

The Vallejo School district launched its first step in budgeting planning for next school year on Wednesday, even as plans for some $4 million in new state funding entered their second stage.

Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Ramona Bishop updated the school board on her office’s outreach to various focus groups — ranging from students and parents to teacher and management — to create the first Local Control Accountability Plan.

Under Gov. Jerry Brown’s January spending plan, Vallejo’s schools could see a $10 million budget increase. A large percentage of that would be locked in for programs supporting low-income students, English language learners and foster students, and%

via Vallejo school board begins new budgeting process – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo schools bond measure pushed to November election – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

The Vallejo school board voted Wednesday to delay placing a bond measure on the ballot until this fall.

“A November rather than a June election provides the district more time to inform the public on the facility needs,” said Mel Jordan, assistant superintendent of administrative services for the Vallejo City Unified School District.

The district has been working for the last year to develop a new bond measure, with the target date of the primary elections in June.

via Vallejo schools bond measure pushed to November election – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school bond measure could see delay – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

The Vallejo City Unified School District will ask the school board today to delay a possible bond measure until the fall general election.

The district has been developing a bond measure for the better part of a year. This included visiting every room at every school district site and creating a facilities master plan.

That plan has been completed and also will be presented to the board today for review.

The board and district officials had originally been pushing to place a bond measure on the June ballot. Indeed, a public opinion survey last summer polled likely June voters rather than November voters.

via Vallejo school bond measure could see delay – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejos participatory budgeting year kickoff draws experienced crowd – Vallejo Times Herald

ByJessica A. York

The fact that Vallejo has set aside about $1 million less than last year to turn community members dreams into reality did not dampen spirits Tuesday.

After simply voting in last years first participatory budgeting effort, resident Dave Belef came to Tuesdays kickoff public assembly at Glen Cove Elementary School cafeteria armed with a plan — and his laptop.

via Vallejos participatory budgeting year kickoff draws experienced crowd – Vallejo Times Herald.