Students help animals and community with project – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

Caroline Chouvinard, a junior at Armijo High School, is a dog lover who wants to do something for animals but she is too young to work at a rescue center. So she came up with a solution that is part school project, part community project and an animal helper.

Since December, she has been hatching a project for her International Baccalaureate certificate, which has several requirements. One of those is community activity service.

“Students feel that they can’t make a difference in animal rescue because you have to be 18 years old to do it,” Chouvinard said. “So I organized a Walk for Pets.”

Source: Students help animals and community with project

Federal support for teacher training to continue, but next year’s funding in doubt | EdSource

By Michael Collier

As Congress struck a $1.1 trillion-dollar budget deal earlier this month to fund the federal government through the rest of the 2016-17 fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown of federal agencies, education leaders in California are relieved that the state will continue to receive federal support for teacher preparation programs.

But support for these programs in the coming fiscal year, beginning on Oct. 1, is still in doubt.

The Trump Administration had proposed to cut federal funding through Title II Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by half – by $1.2 billion – for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and to eliminate the program altogether after that. However, the budget bill approved by Congress cuts the program’s funding by only $249 million for the current fiscal year, according to Education Week, to about $2 billion.

Source: Federal support for teacher training to continue, but next year’s funding in doubt | EdSource

Bethel art students working on downtown Vallejo art project fund-raiser – Times Herald

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

How do you learn history, teamwork, community involvement and several disciplines of art, all at the same time?

Randall Goni’s Jesse Bethel High School ceramics class did it by getting involved with the Capitol Street Stairs Mosaic Project, that’s been working its way through the system for slightly more than a year.

Local artist Sarah Nichols conceived of the project and, with Berkeley artist Jos Sances, dreamed up the idea of involving the art students, she said.

Source: Bethel art students working on downtown Vallejo art project fund-raiser

Sam Tracas built a legacy in local education – Daily Republic

By Tony Wade

Before he became an Armijo High School teacher/vice principal and later the first principal of Fairfield High School, Sam Tracas grew up in the then-small town of Mishawaka, Indiana.

After graduating from high school in 1944, his family moved to California. He served in the Navy for two years, then went to UC Berkeley under the GI Bill. Tracas soon discovered a new-found appreciation for his old Indiana high school.

Source: Sam Tracas built a legacy in local education

Solano Community Foundation bestows Nelson Scholarships – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Solano Community Foundation has awarded sizable scholarships to 10 Vacaville high school seniors, it has been announced.

Seven students received Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Scholarships, five from Will C. Wood High, including Dylan Nute, Ian Kitamura, Mercedes Hall, Willow Rigney and Hailey Milsaps; one from Buckingham Charter High, Mikayla Canales; and one from Vacaville High, Cassidy Aberson. Each four-year award is worth $14,000, or $3,500 per year.

Cassiel Nortier-Tilly of Vacaville High School received the Grace B. Powell Vacaville High School Scholarship, a one-time award of $5,000. Powell was principal of Vacaville High and promoted academic achievement. An annual citywide spelling bee is named after her.

Kristoffer Hernandez of Vacaville High and Rita Zughbaba from Buckingham Charter will receive an Auldin Briggs Achievement Scholarship of $2,500 each for one year. Briggs was a sheet metal worker at Mare Island, and later taught mechanical drawing at Solano Community College.

Source: Solano Community Foundation bestows Nelson Scholarships

A beloved educator – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Nearly everyone has a “favorite teacher” story, it’s something of a conversation cliche, really, but, by all accounts, Kelly Sparrow’s one-year Spanish-language teaching stint at Wood High very likely will be the subject of long-held fond memories for his 150 students across five classes.

Nearing the end of the academic year, the students Thursday took it upon themselves to show their affection and respect throughout the day in several endearing ways, each symbolizing a heartfelt “thank you,” surprise efforts that humbled the 71-year-old educator whose one-year emergency teaching credential will soon end.

Source: A beloved educator

Highest Honors commends students with 4.0 and higher grade-point average – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

They’ll attend the University of California, Berkeley; UCLA; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; Solano College; and other schools, study subjects that include molecular biology and were recognized Thursday by the Fairfield-Suisun School District for earning a 4.0 grade-point average or higher.

“You work hard,” school board president Judi Honeychurch said to students. “You’re doing an amazing job.”

More than 100 students from Armjio, Fairfield and Rodriguez high schools and the Public Safety Academy gathered at Willow Hall at the Fairfield Civic Center for the Highest Honors awards ceremony.

Source: Highest Honors commends students with 4.0 and higher grade-point average

New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A petition from an independent charter school in Vacaville, two Local Control Accountability Plans from a pair of dependent charter schools in Vacaville, and a nearly $1 million construction contract are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.

Already rebuffed once, the leader of a Sacramento-area charter school group has once again petitioned Vacaville Unified leaders to have its downtown Vacaville school be aligned with the 12,500-student district.

The governing board will hear a presentation by Paul Keefer, executive director of Pacific Charter Institute, then seek comments and questions from the public and trustees.

The governing board — which, in July 2013, rejected the charter submitted on behalf of Heritage Peak, the PCI charter school at 354 Parker St. — will take action on the petition, an up-or-down vote, as required by law, at its June 29 meeting.


Source: New charter school petition on Vacaville Unified agenda

Kimme Charter sends students on ‘journey’ to academic, life success – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In its first year, the Ernest Kimme Charter Academy For Independent Learning sends students, teacher Roxann Lynch-Burns said, on a “journey” toward academic and life success.

As a “dependent” charter school overseen by Vacaville Unified, it is a campus, currently adjacent to the Sierra Vista School campus on Bel Air Drive, that “serves everybody,” she added.

For students who do not quite fit in a traditional school setting, the K-12 school, with nearly 300 students, is “tailored” to fit the needs of the home-schooled or Independent Study student, noted Lynch-Burns.

Source: Kimme Charter sends students on ‘journey’ to academic, life success – The Reporter

Exiting CalPERS ‘extremely expensive,’ Fairfield council told – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Getting off the “Titanic” will cost more than staying aboard.

Fairfield Councilwoman Pam Bertani supplied the description of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, and consultant John Bartel provided the cost analysis.

The city’s pension costs will climb yearly for the next decade until they’re projected to reach $37.5 million annually, Bartel’s study for Fairfield said.

“This is a bad deal. This is a very bad deal,” Bertani said. “We can’t afford it.”

Source: Exiting CalPERS ‘extremely expensive,’ Fairfield council told

Torlakson Announces Peak of Annual CAASPP Testing – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that nearly 500,000 California students took California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests on Tuesday May 9, the highest number of students testing simultaneously during the 2017 spring testing season.

“We are in the third year of administering these state-of-the-art assessments, and the capacity of our system and our schools to efficiently administer these tests increases every year,” Torlakson said. “Our students and families are the ultimate winners here. The information from these tests will help our schools refine their teaching, improve learning, and better prepare our students for success.”

The CAASPP assessments in English language arts/literacy and mathematics are given each spring to students in grades three through eight and grade eleven. More than two-thirds of the 3.3 million eligible California students have begun testing. As of Wednesday, May 10, more than 2.7 million students statewide have started a summative assessment in English language arts/literacy or mathematics. Participation peaked on May 9 with 495,463 students testing at one time.

Source: Torlakson Announces Peak of Annual CAASPP Testing – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

Grad Night fundraiser, pasta dinner to be held at Clocktower tomorrow – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Benicia High School’s Grad Night Board and Committee will be holding its first ever pasta feed, fundraiser and silent auction tomorrow night at the Clocktower. The proceeds will benefit Grad Night, an evening of safe, sober fun for new Benicia High and Liberty High School graduates on the grounds of the BHS campus, featuring games, crafts, karaoke and a whole lot more.Funds are needed to bring these activities in, so the Grad Night Committee puts on several fundraisers throughout the year, often at local restaurants. The silent auction at the Clocktower will not only help benefit Grad Night, but it also will give attendees the chance to come home with some really cool prizes. How cool?

Source: Grad Night fundraiser, pasta dinner to be held at Clocktower tomorrow

English-learner report, student achievement plan on Dixon Unified agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will consider the annual District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) report, approve new courses at C.A. Jacobs Intermediate School, discuss a teacher survey on elementary school reconfiguration, and likely approve the Measure Q Citizen Oversight Committee membership roll.

Mike Walbridge, assistant superintendent of educational services, will present the DELAC report.

Every California public school district, grades K-12, is required to form a DELAC if it has 51 or more English-learner students. The committee is comprised of school staff, parents of English-learner students, other parents and community members who are interested in English-learner programs. The committee advises the district’s governing board (in person, by letters or reports, or through an administrator, on programs and services for English learners).

In the agenda documents, Walbridge noted that an unspecified number of parent members will offer a brief “needs assessment as part of the LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan) stakeholder engagement process.”


Source: English-learner report, student achievement plan on Dixon Unified agenda

“Sunshining” bargaining proposals, Measure Q contracts on SCC agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Sunshining of bargaining proposals between the Solano Community College trustees and Local 39 of the Operating Engineers union, several major construction contracts, and the educational agreement between Mariani Nut Company of Winters and the SCC District are on the agenda when college leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.

Local 39 has presented its initial bargaining proposals to the district board for the purpose of sunshining, as required by law. To sunshine bargaining proposals is to inform the public what will be discussed during labor negotiations. The topics include — no surprise — pay and allowances, working conditions, hours and overtime and leaves of absence.

Public comment on the proposals will be received at the next governing board meeting, June 7.

The eight-member governing board will consider a $78,000 contract with Consolidated Engineering Laboratories for project special inspection and testing services for the new science building project at the main Fairfield campus.


Seniors, parents vote to hold BHS graduation at DVC this year – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

After an online poll indicated that Benicia High School graduating seniors and parents would rather hold their graduation at Diablo Valley College than at the school’s own George Drolette Stadium, school administrators made DVC’s stadium the new graduation location.Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, the Drolette Stadium has been under construction due to a renovation plan funded through Measure S. With several rainy days in the early months of 2017 delaying construction, administrators began exploring other possible locations, including the lower baseball fields, Vallejo High School’s Corbus Field, Solano Community College, Alhambra High School in Martinez and DVC. However, with the weather clearing up in March, quick progress was made on the field, increasing the likelihood of the graduation being held at Drolette Stadium, as it has been for many decades.

In April’s Panther Post newsletter, administrators noted that if the graduation were held at the stadium, it would remain an active construction site except for the time alloted to host graduation. In talking to other area high schools, Benicia High administrators learned that it is common for schools to use tickets and issue two to six per student, Principal Brianna Kleinschmidt said, so they decided to try it out at Benicia High for this year. As noted in the newsletter, seniors would only be allowed to invite six guests, and those who did not need all six tickets would be encouraged to give them to seniors who needed extra tickets or turn them into the main office to be raffled off in a lottery system before graduation.

Source: Seniors, parents vote to hold BHS graduation at DVC this year

Matthew Turner first-grader wins essay contest – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Aubrey Ilasco, a first-grader at Matthew Turner Elementary School, won first place for a letter she had written to Sen. Kamala Harris in the 2017 Growing Up Asian in America contest.The contest, put on by the San Francisco-based community foundation Asian Pacific Fund, is put on annually during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and has distributed more than half a million dollars in cash and prizes to its nearly 1,000 winners and honorable mention participants since it was established in 1995.

This year’s theme was “Letter to the Senator,” in which students at all grade levels wrote letters to Harris— the first Indian American and second African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate— about issues they believe the senator should address. Such topics included access to education, racial issues and the well-being of refugees.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important to engage students to examine and bring to light the issues that affect them and their communities,” Audrey Yamamoto, the president and executive director of the Asian Pacific Fund, said in a statement. “We are honored to provide an avenue for our youth— the leaders of tomorrow—to share their points of view and celebrate their heritage.”

Source: Matthew Turner first-grader wins essay contest

Vallejo school board approves new charter – Times Herald

By John Glidden

A petition to open a new charter school in the city won approval by the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education during a May 3 meeting.

The petition — submitted by Mare Island Technology Academy officials — earned unanimous support from the VCUSD board. The Griffin Academy Middle School will be the third MIT charter in the city of Vallejo, joining a middle and high school.

Much of the board discussion centered around whether the charter should receive an initial three-year or five-year term.

Cheri Summers, the district’s chief academic officer, said staff recommended three years after noting the petition lacked depth and detail in certain areas but was still “technically compliant” with state law.

Lynne Vaughan, who serves on the MIT Academy Board of Directors, asked the board to consider giving the new charter a five-year term. She addressed the concerns of staff which focused mainly around the school’s learning program.


Source: Vallejo school board approves new charter

Dixon May Fair caters to special needs students with early opening – The Reporter

By Jessica Rogness

Friday marked Kid’s Day at the Dixon May Fair, but the fun started even earlier for students in special education classes from across Solano County.

The Jest in Time Circus on the Family Fun Stage was a favorite for students visiting from Tremont Elementary School in Dixon.

Laughter pealed from under the big top as “Topper Todd” and “Li Li Zucchini” exhibited their antics for the kids, parents and teachers with juggling pins, toilet paper and Lucky the little white dog.

Then it was on to the Butler Amusements Carnival for some thrills.

Source: Dixon May Fair caters to special needs students with early opening

Student journalism shines again in Campus Star – The Reporter

By Matt Miller

In 1990, The Reporter launched a community engagement program designed to showcase the talent budding of young journalists and ad designers in our local elementary, middle and high schools.

Today, the newspaper publishes its 27th edition. The Reporter and hundreds of local students, their families, teachers and sponsors will celebrate the outstanding work of these young writers, artists and photographers from schools across the region at a reception tonight. For the first time in the program’s history, the ceremony will take place in the Travis Unified School District at Foxboro Elementary.

Each year The Reporter encourages students at all area schools to participate. This year, there were close to 400 entries.

The work is on display in our special section. Campus Star is a newspaper published inside The Reporter each year and is of, by and for local students. Once again, readers will find themselves engaged, inspired and entertained by this collection of outstanding work by the participating students.


Source: Student journalism shines again in Campus Star

New Travis Unified supe Conklin inks three-year, $200K contract – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Travis Unified trustees Tuesday voted to approve a three-year, $200,000 contract for newly named Superintendent Pamela Conklin, who oversees a 5,500-student district, one-third of them military dependents on nearby Travis Air Force Base.

Governing board president Angela Weinzinger signed the contract after a closed-session meeting and before the regularly scheduled trustee meeting in the Travis Education Center in Fairfield.

A longtime educator, Conklin, who as interim superintendent replaced the retiring Kate Wren Gavlak on Feb. 1, was named superintendent last month.

Her contract calls for her to work 221 days annually and submit to a yearly review by the five-member governing board.

Source: New Travis Unified supe Conklin inks three-year, $200K contract