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.
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.
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.
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 193 middle schools and 180 high schools have been honored under the states new Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program, which is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program.
“These schools are academically successful, vibrant, and innovative centers of learning and teaching,” Torlakson said. “They provide great examples of the things educators are doing right—embracing rigorous academic standards, providing excellence and creativity in teaching, and creating a positive school climate.”
The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment and accountability systems.
Schools applied for the award based on a model program their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The new award is recognizing middle and high schools this year and elementary schools in 2016.
via 2015 California Gold Ribbon Schools Award – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
By Richard Bammer
C.A. Jacobs Intermediate School in Dixon, on Tuesday was among nearly 200 California middle schools that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson honored under the state’s new Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program, which is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Program.
Two other Solano County public schools, also deemed Title 1, or low-income, were cited. They were the Mare Island Technology Middle School and MIT Academy High, both in Vallejo City Unified and the latter among 180 high schools designation for the honor. All were recognized as Title I Academic Achieving Schools, too.
“These schools are academically successful, vibrant, and innovative centers of learning and teaching,” Torlakson said in a press release. “They provide great examples of the things educators are doing right — embracing rigorous academic standards, providing excellence and creativity in teaching, and creating a positive school climate.”
via Dixon middle school earns Gold Ribbon honor.
By Susan Winlow
A Fairfield High School history teacher and a classified employee from Lincoln Elementary School in Vallejo took home top honors Wednesday at Solano County’s Educator of the Year award ceremony.
Both Jeanine Cortes, an office manager whose father and son went to Lincoln, and Shari Patterson were emotional as their names were called during the ceremony at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center. Both won among a pool of district winners and will move on to the state contest.
This is the second year in a row that the Fairfield-Suisun School District has taken home top educator honors. Last year’s Teacher of the Year was Michelle Labelle-Fisch from K.I. Jones Elementary School, who went on to become a state semifinalist.
via Fairfield, Vallejo educators bring home top awards Daily Republic.
By Irma Widjojo
While the Benicia Unified School District remained stable, the Vallejo City Unified School District saw a higher graduation rate — and a lower dropout rate — in the 2013-2014 school year, according to data released by the California Department of Education on Tuesday.
American Canyon High School, however, saw a slight dip.
The Vallejo school district had a 72 percent graduation rate and a 21.2 dropout rate last year, which was an improvement from the 65 percent graduation and 27.6 dropout rates in the 2013 cohort. However, the district’s graduation rate is still lower than the national rate at 80.8 percent.
The increase in graduation is reflective of the statewide trend. The 2014 state data showed an 0.4 of a percentage point increase from the year before.
via State data shows more Vallejo students graduated.
By Dianne de Guzman
Instead of kids sitting at desks in the classrooms of Federal Terrace Elementary School, parents were there learning a thing or two on Tuesday night.
The event is called Spring Family Night and parents were invited into classrooms to take part in three different workshops addressing different areas of family life.
This spring, schools offered workshops on nutrition, financial education and technology. This is all done as part of Vallejo City Unified School District’s full-service community school program, that works on helping students improve academically by offering services for families.
Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Ramona Bishop said that by having parents attend workshops, such as nutrition education, the classes help the whole family — not to mention the student.
“Years ago, we started our full-service community schools and this is just part of what the program does,” Bishop said. “(Spring Family Night) allows our families to learn things that they need to keep those students healthy.”
via Family Night connects Vallejo schools with parents.
By Susan Winlow
Superstition usually dictates that 13 is an unlucky number but in the case of 13 local music teachers, it’s kicked the unlucky descriptor.
The Donald and Rose Marie Wong Endowment Fund chose the teachers to receive music program mini grants through a competitive application process. The grants total $17,500 with amounts ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.
The list includes teachers from districts, charter and private schools throughout Solano County, with the bulk coming from Vallejo and Vacaville.
via Music teachers receive program grants Daily Republic.
By John Glidden
Many in Vallejo may not know it, but Patrice L. Lewis is a ninja.
A community ninja.
The 2006 Jesse Bethel High School graduate helps behind the scenes, avoiding the spotlight while trying to strengthen the city she calls home, looking to “spread community and love.”Lewis, 26, who self identifies as a ”budding” historian, can rightfully call herself an “established” bridge-builder in the community. She is a key member of the Vallejo Together service organization, member of the local chapter of the NAACP and an avid supporter/participant of each year’s Youth Expo & Parent Summit put together by the Vallejo school district, Vallejo Together and the Solano County Collaborative HIV/AIDS Awareness.
via Vallejo’s Patrice Lewis continues to build and study community.
By Richard Freedman
DeMareon Gipson doesn’t gloss over his difficult Vallejo childhood.
“Pretty tumultuous,” is how the 22-year-old described his youth. “It definitely was not the most adequate or healthy thing.”
But the 2010 Vallejo High School graduate wouldn’t let a tough life get the best of him. Not when he had dreams, goals, and the courage to rise above whatever anger or bitterness he had.
“I learned a lot from it,” he said of his teen years. “Part of that motivates me. I just didn’t want to live my life of ‘what if’ when I have the potential to do something regardless of the obstacles put in front of me.”
A second-year student at San Francisco State University, Gipson was eloquent and dapper for this interview, proud of his first book of poetry, “Looking Forward,” which took most of 2014 to write.
via Vallejo High grad hopes poetry book inspires others.
Teachers, paraeducators, school secretaries, computer technicians and school staff all contribute to student achievement, educational innovation and community involvement in Solano County’s schools, so the best of them will be honored at a special reception in April, county schools officials announced Tuesday.
The Solano County Office of Education will honor 14 school district employees nominated for the 2015-16 Solano County Educators of the Year (EOY). A reception, starting at 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29, at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center in Suisun City, will celebrate the many accomplishments and commitment of these devoted educators and school staff to the success of our public school students.
“The Educators of the Year program is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication of our teachers and school staff,” said Jay Speck, Solano County Superintendent of Schools. “These individuals have all made significant contributions to student achievement and a positive school climate.”
via Solano to honor top educators in April.
By Richard Freedman
It could be about bullying. Or staying in school. Or refraining from alcohol and drugs. Or smoking.
The topic of the day may have changed in the 30 years Spencer “Spinny” Johnson has delivered his motivational talks and basketball tricks to America’s young students. But the kids? Still the same, said Johnson, 62, in Vallejo on Tuesday for assemblies at Lincoln, Glen Cove, and Patterson elementary schools.
“The kids really haven’t changed. The problems change,” said Johnson. “The kids now do see so much and witness so much with TV and computers.”
via ‘Spinny’ brings hoop tricks, message to Vallejo schools.
By John Glidden:
The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education will hold two special meetings Wednesday to deal with various items.
At 9 a.m., the board will update district goals and review Board Bylaw 9223, filing vacancies.
In late January, the board appointed Ruscal Cayangyang to fill a vacancy on the board after Richard Porter, who was elected last November refused to be seated on the board.
Porter — who filed candidacy papers in August 2014 — suspended his campaign in early September to teach. Despite halting his campaign, more than 7,000 Vallejo voters decided to elect him, placing him second out of three available seats.
via Vallejo school board set to update goals and approve quarterly financial report.
By Dianne de Guzman
Students at Jesse Bethel High School are learning computer coding, all the while helping their high school earn money for more student resources.
via Jesse Bethel students learn coding and earn money for school resources.
By John Glidden
The chorus of “ewww” was drowned out by one brave Vallejo school district student who exclaimed “Awesome!,” as a group of 20 students were told Friday afternoon at Solano Middle School that they would be able to see taxidermy bugs up close.
The bugs, contained in protective cases, were part of a learning lab, “Talk About Trees,” sponsored by the Vallejo City Unified School District’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) program.
The sixth-grade students took part in the hour-long lab, exploring and learning about various aspects of trees and forests, even learning about the bugs which can damage trees.
Jeanne Tomascheski, a registered professional forester with The Forest Foundation, a group which teaches students about forests areas, conducted the lab.
via Vallejo school district sixth-graders learn about forests.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.