Vallejo school board places $239 million bond measure on November ballot – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

Voters will decide in November whether the Vallejo City Unified School District should get $239 million to maintain its aging facilities.

The school board unanimously approved Wednesday placing a bond measure during the general elections this fall, the culmination of about a year and a half of work by the board and district staff.

“It has been 17 years since this same opportunity came along for the community to take,” Assistant Superintendent Mel Jordan said to the board, referencing the district’s last facilities bond measure, the $133 million Measure A in 1997.

 

via Vallejo school board places $239 million bond measure on November ballot – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo Regional Education Center graduates dozens – Vallejo Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

The last adult graduate walked across the stage at the 2833 Tennessee St. courtyard Friday afternoon during the Vallejo Regional Education Center graduation ceremony.

About 80 graduated this year from the center, formerly known as Vallejo Adult School, and 33 of them chose to attend the ceremony, donning their blue caps and gowns.

The center has switched locations with Vallejo Charter School on Del Sur Street, just a few years after moving to the Tennessee campus, which formerly housed Springstowne Middle School.

During the commencement, three student speakers shared their life stories with the audience.

via Vallejo Regional Education Center graduates dozens – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school board nixes Chieftain mascot – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian

The Vallejo school board voted Wednesday to once again remove a Native-American symbol as one of its school mascots.

Solano Middle School, formerly the Chieftains, will now be the Titans.

“The screenplay writer for ‘Remember the Titans,’ Gregory Howard, was an ex-Solano Middle School student. How cool is that? The circle is complete,” Principal Bob Russell said as he gave his presentation to the board.

The unanimous decision (4-0, as trustee Raymond Victor Mommsen did not enter the meeting until later in the night) echoed the board’s decision late last year to retire the Vallejo High School Apache, citing the offense it causes to indigenous peoples.

via Vallejo school board nixes Chieftain mascot – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo’s high schools have high dropout, discipline rates – The Reporter

By Lanz Christian Bañes

The Solano County grand jury again singled out two Vallejo high schools as needing improvement in a report released Thursday, more than a year after another report highly criticized safety issues at Vallejo High School.

“The number of offenses reported regarding disruption and defiance at (Vallejo and Jesse Bethel high schools) is alarming and must be addressed!” stated the grand jury in a report titled, “Security Impact on Gradation Rates in Solano County High Schools.”

The report reviewed all 10 comprehensive high schools in Solano County. However, the report reserved much of its criticism for the two Vallejo sites, pointing out that they have higher dropout, truancy and suspension rates than the other eight.

via Report: Vallejo’s high schools have high dropout, discipline rates – The Reporter.

Vallejo school board weighs changing Solano mascot, building MIT Academy facilities – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

The Vallejo school board will consider Wednesday changing Solano Middle School’s mascot, the Chieftains.

The move comes just a week after Vallejo High School’s graduation ceremony, during which the Apache mascot was officially retired and the Redhawk took its place. The board unanimously approved in November changing the Apache mascot after a series of passionate meetings in which indigenous people and their supporters said the Apache mascot was offensive.

The decision was immediately met with resistance from some students, who walked out of class, and alumni who defended the tradition of the decades-old mascot. The board, however, did not rescind its decision.

via Vallejo school board weighs changing Solano mascot, building MIT Academy facilities – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo police seek clues in burned playground case – Vallejo Times Herald

Times-Herald staff report Posted:

Vallejo police are still searching for suspects in two arson cases last month at a local elementary school, including one that destroyed a playground.

The first fire, set at the school’s south side, did minimal damage. However, the second fire at about 11:25 a.m. May 31 completely engulfed a play structure that had been built only a few years ago.

The blaze destroyed the playground, doing about $10,000 to $15,000 in damage, according to a statement issued by police on Sunday.

The department is asking the public for help in solving the case, encouraging people to call the Vallejo Police Department at 800-488-9383 or the Solano Crime Stoppers at 707-644-STOP. Crime Stoppers offers $1,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest.

via Vallejo police seek clues in burned playground case – Vallejo Times Herald.

Original Jesse Bethel High teacher bids farewell to longtime room – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

Ricardo Henley’s classroom at Jesse Bethel High School is one dedicated to the study of history.

But perhaps the lessons with the most impact for the longtime Vallejo resident and teacher aren’t the ones found in a book — but what’s on the walls of Room O-105.

“I had a student who would not do any work. … Then one day, a binder fell off his desk filled with drawings,” Henley, 55, said Friday, pointing to a caricature of himself drawn by that very student years ago.

Henley, one of the original Bethel teachers when the school opened in 1998, has been in the same room for the last 15 years, collecting projects and memorabilia from his students and the community and festooning his walls. But when school starts this fall, Henley — affectionately nicknamed “Hendawg” by a student years ago — will be in a more modern room on the north side of campus.

via Original Jesse Bethel High teacher bids farewell to longtime room – Vallejo Times Herald.

Grand jury weighs in on Vallejo schools safety – Daily Republic

By Jess Sullivan

After reviewing data and information on several websites and after meeting with staff at six high schools in Solano County, the Solano County grand jury issued a report Friday recommending that Vallejo high schools put cops on their campuses.

The report also recommended that campus site safety officers wear their school-issued photo identification cards and that Vallejo school district’s superintendent and high school principals place priority on controlling defiance and disruptions in classes.

via Grand jury weighs in on Vallejo schools safety Daily Republic.

Jesse Bethel Jaguars ‘roar’ during graduation – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

It took two failed drafts of a graduation speech for Principal Linda Kingston to realize how she wanted to address the Class of 2014 for the final time.

“All I really wanted to do at 10:30 last night was read you your last story from school,” said Kingston on Thursday as she pulled out a chair and proceeded to read the Jesse Bethel High School graduating class Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

The children’s classic — the last book Seuss published before his death — tells the story of a young person’s journey into the unknown, from reaching soaring heights to being isolated and alone. But in the end, the book guarantees success.

via Jesse Bethel Jaguars ‘roar’ during graduation – Vallejo Times Herald.

John Finney High School graduates ‘first’ class – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

A year ago, they were many credits behind and attending Peoples High School.

But on Wednesday, 88 students held their head high and walked away with their diplomas as the first graduating class of John Finney High School.

Principal Ernani Santos acknowledged the immense changes that occurred at Vallejo’s continuation high school in the last year.

“These changes have included the renaming of our school, the school colors, the mascot and the school principal,” said Santos, who took over midyear from Edison Kelly, now a coordinator at the Vallejo City Unified School District office.

via John Finney High School graduates ‘first’ class – Vallejo Times Herald.

Last Vallejo High Apaches receive diplomas – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

An era ended Wednesday at Vallejo High School when the last senior took his diploma and became an alumnus, officially become the last Apache.

“We will give the Apache nation a standing ovation and a clap of love,” Principal Clarence Isadore said about the Native American tribe whose name was for decades used as the Vallejo High School mascot.

But last year, the Vallejo school board unanimously voted to retire the Apache after graduation, citing concerns that it is offensive and degrading to indigenous peoples. The new mascot, the Redhawks, was announced earlier this year.

via Last Vallejo High Apaches receive diplomas – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejos MIT Academy picks future engineer, teacher as valedictorian – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

Give graduating senior Alexandra Estigoy Daniels a few years, and she’ll be right back in a high school classroom.

“I kind of want to be a teacher while I’m getting my engineering degree,” said the Mare Island Technology Academy valedictorian, who will graduate on Thursday.

Daniels will head to the University of California, Berkeley, this fall, where she will be an engineering, mathematics and statistics major.

While earning her degree, the 17-year-old is considering enrolling in CalTeach, a Berkeley program that places engineering and math students in schools as teachers.

via Vallejos MIT Academy picks future engineer, teacher as valedictorian – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo High to graduate final Apache valedictorian – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

To say Hanna Lorica is a little nervous about graduation is putting it a bit mildly.

“Something’s going to go wrong. I can bet on it,” said the 18 year old, about having to deliver her speech to crowded stands Wednesday at Corbus Field. But that’s the price that must be paid when you’re the valedictorian of Vallejo High School.

Lorica didn’t always think about being the top student until she saw her freshman year class ranking and realized how close she was.

“It was fun to be up there with my friends,” said Lorica, who entered into a friendly competition with her close buddies for the top spot.

via Vallejo High to graduate final Apache valedictorian – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo schools celebrate stable budget – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

The Vallejo school board welcomed good news Wednesday during its first glimpse at the district budget.

‘It’s wonderful to come forward with money allocated for change instead of listing budget reductions,” said Sarah Hart, interim chief business officer for the Vallejo City Unified School District.

Thanks in part to a new state formula for funding school districts, Vallejo schools will see an increase of nearly $11 million in state revenue next year. That’s because the local control funding formula increases funding for districts that have high populations of low-income students, foster youth or English language learners.

Nearly $7 million of the increase is because of those supplemental grants.

via Vallejo schools celebrate stable budget – Vallejo Times Herald.

Vallejo school board to discuss budget, academies – Vallejo Times Herald

Times-Herald staff report Posted:

The Vallejo school board will get its first look Wednesday at a proposed budget for the district.

For months, the Vallejo City Unified School District, like others across the state, has been developing a local control and accountability plan (LCAP) as part of a new model for school funding in California that demands input from stakeholders.

Out of that plan, the district has developed a budget under the local control funding formula. In its first year, the formula provides more money to districts with high concentrations of low-income students, foster youth and English language learners.

via Vallejo school board to discuss budget, academies – Vallejo Times Herald.

Izzy decides on Rodriguez High principal job – Vallejo Times Herald

By Richard Freedman

While one door opened for Clarence “Izzy” Isadore, another door … opened. And what could be one of the quickest reversals of good fortune for the 55-year-old native Vallejoan, the soon-to-be-former Vallejo High School principal accepted the same title with Rodriguez High School in Fairfield.

The news became official at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Fairfield-Suisun school board meeting, barely a week after Isadore agreed to take a newly-created job with the Vallejo City Unified School district as middle school supports manager.

As Al Pacino said in “Godfather III,” — “Just when I thought I was out … they pull me back in.”

via Izzy decides on Rodriguez High principal job – Vallejo Times Herald.

Kites flown to honor late Jesse Bethel High students, staff – Vallejo Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

The blue sky above Jesse Bethel High School was adorned with colorful balloons and kites Tuesday afternoon, as a group of people remembered the Bethel “family members” who had passed away.

The second Day of Remembrance Kite Festival celebrated the memories of 35 late students and staff members who had passed away since the school opened its doors in 1998.

“This is a time for us to remember those who had been taken from us too soon, but will stay in our heart forever,” Jesse Bethel Principal Linda Kingston said.

Mary Richardson, the mother of Joshua, was one of the parents who organized Tuesday’s event.

via Kites flown to honor late Jesse Bethel High students, staff – Vallejo Times Herald.

Solano schools summit focuses on “crossover youth” – The Reporter

By Lanz Christian Bañes

Solano County agencies, led by Vallejo school officials, want to shift the focus from students’ mistakes to their ultimate potential.

That was the main takeaway Friday at the Solano County Positive Youth Justice Summit at the Solano County Event Center.

“What you do is not the whole of who you are,” said Alana Shackelford, director of partnerships and community engagement for the Vallejo City Unified School District.

Shackelford was expanding upon the conference’s theme of “I See You.”

About 75 people attended the morning plenary sessions of the day-long summit, the second organized by the Vallejo City Unified School District and its partners. The district is the recipient of a two-year $400,000 Positive Youth Justice Initiative grant from the Sierra Health Foundation which focuses on “crossover youth.”

via Solano schools summit focuses on “crossover youth” – The Reporter.

Vallejo school board approves teachers raises – Vallejo Times Herald

By Lanz Christian Bañes

Vallejo public school teachers will get a 2.5 percent raise — the first pay increase in about a decade.

“I want to have the best teachers, and I do think we have the best teachers,” trustee Hazel Wilson said Wednesday, shortly before the board voted unanimously to approve the new agreement between the Vallejo City Unified School District and the Vallejo Education Association.

The 2.5 percent raise, retroactive to July 1, is in line with wage increases approved earlier by the board for both district managers and classified employees.

Additionally, the new contract calls for a new evaluation system for teachers, with tenured employees receiving an evaluation every other year and newer teachers receiving one on an annual basis.

“For both sides, for the district and for VEA, the two things that were really important for us to take care of this year were evaluations and collaboration, and making sure teachers are prepared to move forward with Common Core and the new curriculum,” said Janny Latno, chairperson for the Vallejo Education Association bargaining committee.

via Vallejo school board approves teachers raises – Vallejo Times Herald.

Local organizations to share more than $800,000 in Kaiser Permanente grants  – The Reporter

Times-Herald staff report Posted:

Several local nonprofits will share in more than $800,000 in grants, officials of Kaiser Permanente in Solano and Napa counties announced Tuesday. Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grants are awarded annually to local organizations that apply for them to fund specific programs and projects. The applications are considered and approved if the proposals align with Kaiser Permanente grant objectives, officials said. These four objectives are to improve access to health care, health services and health education; to support healthy eating; to help train and develop the youth workforce; and to create safe environments for individuals and families to live, work, walk, and play.

via Local organizations to share more than $800,000 in Kaiser Permanente grants  – The Reporter.