New after-school program for girls introduced in Vallejo, Benicia – Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

More girls in Vallejo and Benicia will have an opportunity to be a part of an after-school program that promotes health and life skills.

The Napa County-based Girls on The Run is expanding its reach to more Solano County schools for their third to eighth graders.

This school year the program will be offered at Steffan Manor and Grace Patterson elementary schools and Loma Vista Environmental Science Academy in Vallejo. Meanwhile in Benicia, it will be offered at Matthew Turner Elementary School.

Last year, the program was already offered at Steffan Manor and Grace Patterson.

“Two years ago we decided to expand to Solano County,” said April Massett, Solano County coordinator of the program. “We heard from parents and administrators who are familiar with our program that they want to bring it to Solano County.”

The 10-week program prepares the girls for a 5K running event while teaching them life skills by incorporating discussion sessions.

via New after-school program for girls introduced in Vallejo, Benicia.

Vallejo schools back in session – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The first day of school in the Vallejo City Unified School District was summed up well by a fourth grader.

“We have no homework,” exclaimed Jeremiah McDade, as he skipped down the street from Lincoln Elementary School on Wednesday afternoon.

McDade was with his godmother, Latoya Grogen, and her daughter, Mikka Penny, who is in the fifth grade at Lincoln.

McDade said his first day of the fourth grade was “good” and they did “nothing” in his class, drawing a smile from Grogen.

Penny said she was “excited” on her first day at Lincoln.

via Vallejo schools back in session.

Vallejo schools to continue programs, add SRO – Times Herald

By Dianne de Guzman

Wednesday marks the first day of the 2015-2016 school year for students of the Vallejo City Unified School District, with the issue of school violence returning after a summer of discussion and debate.

Last week’s back-to-school BBQ and a listening session set the stage for the start of the year. Changes are on the horizon, along with a continuation of already-implemented academic programs for students.

The most notable change on the horizon is the addition of a second school resource officer to the school district. Officer Craig Long with the Vallejo Police Department has been the district’s school resource officer since February, and school and police officials have recently made the move to hire another officer. VCUSD Superintendent Dr. Ramona Bishop and Police Chief Andrew Bidou said they’ve been in talks to do this since before the listening session, where parents voiced their concerns about school safety. Bidou said a new officer is expected in the next few months.

via Vallejo schools to continue programs, add SRO.

Vallejo school district might lose money with new charter school operating – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school district may lose millions of dollars during the next few years, if a newly approved charter school proves to be successful, a school official warned during a recent meeting of the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education.

Cecile Nunley, the district’s chief business officer, presented future budget projections showing the district losing around $1.2 million in funding for the 2016-17 school year with the opening of Caliber Charter School.

The Vallejo school board unanimously approved the charter school petition in June, paving the way for the second independent charter school in the city, joining Mare Island Technology Academy.

Charter school officials have estimated 270 students will attend the new school during its first full year of operation during 2016-17. However, the school will only receive funding for 199.5 students.

via Vallejo school district might lose money with new charter school operating.

Vallejo students get backpacks for school – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Many professional athletes — in some form — give back to their communities.

CC Sabathia gives backpacks.

Like a well-oiled machine, Vallejo High School athletes worked together Monday at the school to fill backpacks with school supplies donated from the CC Sabathia PitCCh In Foundation.

First and second graders, along with all the students at Steffan Manor Elementary, will receive a backpack laden with supplies.

Sabathia, a Vallejo High School graduate and star athlete for the Apaches, is a pitcher with the New York Yankees.

via Vallejo students get backpacks for school.

Vallejo school trustee to hold town hall meeting regarding school safety – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Vallejo school board trustee Burky Worel announced at a recent meeting that he will be holding a town hall meeting on Aug. 24 to address safety concerns with the city’s schools.

Worel expressed disappointment with the district’s listening session scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday.

“I don’t need a listening session,” Worel said during the Aug. 5 meeting. “Quite frankly, I’ve heard a lot, I’ve listened, I do not know why we need to have a listening session, unless some people are sitting up here and not listening.

“I have listened and I have heard you,” he added, directing his comments to the public.

In response, Worel said that he reserved The Joseph Room at the John F. Kennedy Library to allow the public to direct the school board and Vallejo City Council on what they would like to see done about violence in the schools.

via Vallejo school trustee to hold town hall meeting regarding school safety.

Vallejo school board to hold listening session about security concerns – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Community members will have an opportunity to share their concerns about school safety on Wednesday.

The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education is holding a special listening session to hear citizens’ comments regarding school safety and how recent violence in Vallejo impacts the city’s schools.

Time is also reserved for board members and VCUSD Superintendent Ramona Bishop to offer comments about safety, according to the agenda.

The district has come under fire recently from parents and board members who have wished to discuss the issue of safety after the slaying of a Jesse Bethel High School student in May.

Kenneth Maxwell “Max” Rusk, 17, was killed on a trail that runs along the side of the school.

Weeks after Rusk’s death, Vallejo police responded to a report of a large fight at Vallejo High School.

via Vallejo school board to hold listening session about security concerns.

Vallejo school district passes on PR consultant – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Months after the Vallejo school superintendent declared a need for the community to receive “positive” news about the district, an official confirmed Friday that the district has halted negotiations for a public relations position.

Vallejo City Unified School District spokeswoman Alana Shackelford stated by e-mail that “the district has decided to move in a different direction,” regarding a contract with Joe Wolfcale to become the district’s public relations consultant specialist.

During a March meeting, Superintendent Ramona Bishop stated that there is a “misrepresentation of the truth that continues to be in this community (about the district).”

“We are not interested in a spin doctor,” Bishop said at the time. “We are interested in transparent and accurate reporting around the positive things that are going on in our school district.”

via Vallejo school district passes on PR consultant.

Speakers call for joint meeting between Vallejo school district, city council – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Around 30 people stood up during the public comment session of the Vallejo City Council meeting, signalling that they wished to see a joint meeting between the council and the Vallejo school board.

The topic: school safety.

Local resident Nathan Stout asked the collection of parents and residents to show their support for the proposal, which hasn’t gained much traction after Vallejo City Unified School Board of Education Trustee Burky Worel began asking months ago for such meetings.

“To you the city council,” Stout said. “We may look like a few random individuals who are asking for this joint meeting. Really in truth, many are aware about the serious crisis in this school district.”

 

Stout said that everyone from students, school staff and parents feel threatened by the lack of security at Vallejo’s schools.

via Speakers call for joint meeting between Vallejo school district, city council.

Vallejo school program introduces itself to public at fair – Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

A relatively new program for Vallejo students made an appearance at this year’s Solano County Fair to spread the news.

Representatives and a few students belonging to the Vallejo City Unified School District K-8 STEAM program held a demonstration booth Thursday at the fair.

“It is our first time at the fair,” STEAM Program Coordinator Lilibeth Pinpin said. “We want the community to be part of our program, to know that there’s such a program.

“I always envision a borderless education.”

STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics — teaches students through project-based learning, and incorporates modern technology, like 3-D printing for middle school students.

“We want to prepare them for the academies (in high school),” Pinpin said.

via Vallejo school program introduces itself to public at fair.

Vallejo school delegation participates in White House conference – Times Herald

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.

Vallejo high school students team with local employers for summer – Times Herald

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.

Vallejo’s ‘Midnight basketball’ attracts hundreds of players – Times Herald

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.

‘Midnight basketball’ to start Friday at Vallejo High School – Times Herald

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.

Richard Porter moves on from Vallejo school district – Times Herald

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.

Reading the theme at Vallejo Juneteenth Celebration at City Park – Times Herald

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.

Vallejo High seniors embark on new journey – Times Herald

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.

Solano schools participate in Girls on the Run event – Daily Republic

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.

High school students study creeks via monitoring program – Daily Republic

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.

Vallejo High School students put on talent show – Times Herald

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.

It wasn’t.

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.