By Bill Hicks
Starting this fall, the Travis School District will offer full-day kindergarten at all of its elementary sites, broadening a long-existing option the district has had for extended kindergarten.
The plan will affect as many as 400 children within the district and is a move the district made in anticipation of ballooning enrollments expected in the coming years with developments of Fairfield subdivisions within the district’s boarders.
District officials and representatives from the Travis Unified Teacher’s Association are wrangling over some of the final details of the program, with about 50 district teachers, supported by some parents, attending the district’s Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday to voice concerns over the negotiations, according to union bargaining leader Sydney Lundy.
Source: Travis district, teachers’ union wrangle over kindergarten program
By Nick Sestanovich
As a result of ongoing labor negotiations between Benicia Unified School District and the Benicia Teachers Association, educators, parents and students once again took to the lectern during the public comment portion of Thursday’s school board meeting to request more fair salaries for teachers.
On Jan. 24, BUSD and the BTA held a negotiations meeting following a budget workshop. BUSD proposed a one-time bonus of 1 percent off the salary schedule for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years, citing a desire to remain competitive with surrounding school districts. BTA countered with a 5 percent salary increase for the current school year and a 4.25 percent increase for the following school year. BUSD did not accept this offer and teachers were not satisfied with receiving 1 percent off the salary schedule, so a rally was held ahead of the Feb. 1 meeting. At a Feb. 6 negotiations meeting, BUSD made a counter-proposal of 1.5 percent off the salary schedule. After being unable to reach an agreement, BTA requested to file for impasse.
Source: As contract negotiations continue, community resumes pleas for equal teacher pay
The Dixon City Council will review Tuesday a memorandum of understanding with the Dixon Unified School District for the services of a School Resources Officer (SRO).
The school district has agreed to fund 60 percent of the total cost of employment of one police officer assigned full-time to the school system. The police department will coordinate with the school district to create a training matrix and provide a core training program to the officer.
If the assigned SRO is expected to be absent from campus for more than five school days in a row, the police department will be responsible for assigning another SRO-trained police officer to this post.The SRO would earn a base salary of $81,091 in the first, with total salary and benefits up to $126,053.The council will also consider authorizing a temporary services agreement with waterTALENT for a temporary water operations supervisor for a duration not to exceed 12 months.
Source: School Resources Officer agreement goes to Dixon City Council
By Tim Goree
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s Child Nutrition Department worked with the Kid Tested Kid Approved program April 24th, 25th and 26th.
Kid Tested Kid Approved is a 3rd party company that works with manufacturer brands to test products with at least 500 school aged children in three geographically dispersed locations throughout the United States. To have a product placed on the Kid Tested Kid Approved list, a product must be taste approved by at least 80% of those tested. If approval is not 80% or higher, the product must go back to Research and Development for additional tweaks and is not placed on the approved list.
Source: FSUSD’s Child Nutrition Department Works with Kid Tested Kid Approved
By Daily Republic Staff
Ninety-three Solano County Office of Education employees will be recognized during a service awards event Wednesday.
Employees with five to 30 years of service time will be acknowledged during the ceremony, which is scheduled from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at 5100 Business Center Drive.
Tokens with the employee’s name and years of service will be handed out. Those with five years will get a bell, while a crystal apple will be awarded to those with 10 years, a rosewood pen and pencil set for those with 15 years, a rosewood book clock for those with 20 years, a crystal award with silver star for those with 25 years and a crafted mahogany box for employees with 30 years of service.
Source: Solano schools office set to hand out employee service awards
By John Glidden
A South Bay charter school operator has submitted a petition to establish a school in the Vallejo City Unified School District.
Rocketship Public Schools officials confirmed they are hoping to open the new facility for the 2020-2021 school year.
For the first year the school would be open for transitional kindergarten to fourth grade, with a fifth-grade class added in the second year, they said.
Marie Issa Gil, Rocketship Bay Area regional director and lead petitioner for Rocketship Vallejo said the proposed move comes after “over 500 students in Vallejo expressed their support for Rocketship to bring a school to their community.”
Source: New charter school hopes to land in Vallejo
By Michael Morris
Spirited students and faithful fans simultaneously turned a page in the school’s history as Will C. Wood held its long-awaited grand opening of Wildcat Stadium.
Students, school faculty and generations of Wood grads flocked to the stands and around the 50-yard line of the newly christened stadium to celebrate the completion of the highly anticipated venture. As the sea of supporters assembled in the stands and on the field, while soaking in the pristine scene shortly after 3:30 p.m., Wood Associated Student Body President Austin McLellan and 2017 WCW graduate Issac Stevens welcomed those in attendance and voiced their unrivaled elation for the special occasion.
Source: Will C. Wood hosts grand opening for Wildcat Stadium
By Bill Hicks
At the end of the school day Thursday, students at Will C. Wood were welcomed home – but not in the way they are on every other day.
Rather than spill out through the streets of Vacaville en route to their residences, the students piled into the school’s newly constructed athletics stadium, a feature that has been missing since it became a high school in 1989.
Thanks to funding made possible by the voter-passed Measure A, Will C. Wood students, for the first time, walked into a stadium built for their teams, decked out in their colors and sporting their school name and logo.“Look at this. It’s just awesome,” said Wood graduate Issac Stevens.
Source: Will C. Wood students celebrate new stadium
By Todd R. Hansen
Higher upfront costs of electric buses may deter some school districts from converting their diesel fleets, but it is not the only concern.
In fact, the Fairfield-Suisun schools have considered converting, but is not sure the electric buses could meet all the district’s needs.
“They have been considering it, but they have not converted or purchased electric buses,” Tim Goree, executive director of administrative services and community engagement at the Fairfield-Suisun School District, said in a phone interview.
The “they” to whom Goree references are the district’s transportation officials.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun taking ‘longer’ look at electric buses
By Todd R. Hansen
A national report released Thursday states that replacing all diesel-powered transit and school buses with electric coaches would eliminate 7.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year – and significantly reduce the exposure of children and others to the unhealthy fumes.
“Approximately 95 percent of America’s school buses, carrying some of the most vulnerable passengers, run on diesel,” the executive summary of the report released by the Environment America Research and Policy Center states.
The report, “Electric Busses: Clean Transportation for Healthier Neighborhoods and Cleaner Air,” was compiled by the research center as well as the U.S. Education Fund and the Frontier Group.
Source: Report: Converting school, transit buses to electric cheaper, healthier
By Ian Thompson
Vacaville first responders may soon be better prepared to respond to situations involving special-needs children.
The city’s Police Department is finishing up a program that has been teaching the city’s police and firefighters about engaging with special-needs children and will soon allow parents of special-needs children to list them in a database which firefighters and police can access if they are called to that address.
They are also working to expand that listing to involve special-needs adults and Alzheimer’s patients.
The program is the brainchild of Vacaville Police Department School Resources Officer Jeremy Johnson, who is also the father of a 6-year-old child who has autism.
Source: Vacaville officer creates program to help first responders better help special-needs children
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified leaders, when they meet tonight, are expected to approve several large Measure A and Proposition 39 contracts totaling more than $1.6 million, plus pass a resolution calling for “full and fair funding of California’s public schools.”
The seven-member governing board will OK, in order, three Measure A contracts, including 1) a $272,000 agreement with Johnson Mechanical to replace the heating, ventilation and air condition systems in the Wood High administration building; 2) a $65,000 contract with American Asphalt & Resurfacing Co. for the seal coating projects at Vacaville High and Jepson Middle School; and 3) a $629,000 agreement with Sunterra Solar Inc. for solar panels atop the newly built E and M buildings at the West Monte Vista Avenue campus.
Source: $1.6M in Measure A, Prop. 39 contracts on VUSD agenda
By Richard Bammer
Vanden High science teacher Marilyn Lewis and Vallejo City Unified bus driver Samantha Bradshaw were named Solano County’s top educators of the year.
The leader of Solano County schools, Lisette Estrella-Henderson, made the announcement in a press release.
Besides Lewis and Bradshaw, named Teacher of the Year and Classified Employee of the Year, respectively, 12 other school district employees were honored Tuesday during a ceremony in Suisun City. The event recognized teachers, paraeducators, child nutrition, support services, security and school staff who give their time, talent and skills to support student achievement, educational innovation and community involvement in Solano County schools.
“It is an honor and a privilege to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our Solano County educators and support staff,” Estrella-Henderson added in the prepared statement.
Source: Solano County’s top school district employees named
By Daily Republic Staff
Art from local students in fourth through 12th grades will be featured as part of the Solano County Student Art Faire that’s scheduled May 16-18 and May 21-22.
“Art is an essential component in a child’s development of motor skills, language, critical thinking, creativity and cultural awareness. It is also linked to increased academic performance. This countywide art faire showcases the immense talent of our local student artists,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement.
Students from 25 schools submitted about 300 art pieces in categories that included computer art, clay pottery, sculpture, drawing, fiber, mixed media, painting, photography and print making.
Source: 300 art pieces featured in Student Art Faire that begins May 16
By Richard Bammer
Two public hearings about a tentative salary agreement with the Dixon Teachers Association and the possible approval of the contract, and updates on the LCAP and possible relocation of Maine Prairie High are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.
A public hearing will precede the approval or possible modification of the contract, with a follow-up public hearing to revision the contract’s initial proposals.
According to agenda documents, the agreement, ratified April 26, calls for a 2 percent ongoing increase to the salary schedule, retroactive to Jan. 1. That decision will affect all active union members as of April 1.
Additionally, the contract calls for increasing elementary teacher preparation time from 360 minutes to 450 minutes for every 10 working days.
Source: Dixon Unified School District leaders to consider pay hike for teachers
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that the public comment period is now open for the Health Education Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve. It presents an approach to health education that focuses on students learning skills and practicing behaviors that will lead to a lifetime of good health.
“Students who are healthy do better in school, attend more days of classes and are ready to learn,” said Torlakson. “This new framework is another example of how California is leading the way for comprehensive health education for all students.”
The framework provides guidance on a wide range of health education topics, including nutrition, physical activity, community health, drug use, depression, obesity, relationships, and the impact of the environment on health. It also gives students the tools to reduce risky behaviors. The new health education framework is the first based on the groundbreaking Health Education Content Standards for California Public School, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (PDF), which addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of health.
Source: Public Comment Open for Health Education Framework – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Times Herald Staff
Intellectual, political activist and author Cornel West will be the keynote speaker for the 6th Annual Solano County Positive Youth Justice Summit on May 11.
This year’s theme is The Profound Desire for Justice.
The submit “seeks to advance the conversation around evidence-informed policies and practices to improve youth justice and social services in Solano County so that systems are responsive to the needs of our most vulnerable, at-promise justice involved youth,” according to a Vallejo City Unified School District news release.
The event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. May 11 at the California State University Maritime Academy, Rizza Auditorium, 200 Maritime Academy Drive.
Source: Cornel West to speak at Vallejo summit on May 11
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
A school bus driver convinced by her cousin to give the job a try and a high school science teacher who taught three of her four children were named Tuesday as Solano County’s Classified School Employee of the Year and Teacher of the Year.
Samantha Bradshaw, lead trainer and bus driver for the Vallejo City School District, was nominated for her can-do attitude and getting grants to retrofit the buses.
“Samantha has gone over and beyond the call of duty to help out the Transportation Department,” her nomination read.
Source: Solano office of education honors classified employee, teacher of the year
By John Glidden
It’s an election year, so the quest by the Vallejo school district to get a school bond passed is in full swing.
Trustees will get their first look Wednesday at the district’s newest proposal: Placement of a $194 million school bond on the November ballot.
Bond proceeds would be used to repair classrooms, update science, computer, and technology labs, and improve security, fire safety and electrical and plumbing systems, according to the draft ballot language.
In addition, bond monies would be allocated to the independent charter school Mare Island Technology Academy for site improvements.
District staff estimates the Vallejo City Unified School District requires about $750 million for school facility needs and improvements.
Source: Vallejo trustees get first look at proposed $194 million bond
By Todd R. Hansen
Three Solano County women recently graduated from Emerge California, a group dedicated to educating, training and getting more Democratic women into elected office.
Dr. Bonnie Hamilton, a retired pediatrician, Doriss Panduro, president of the Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and K. Patrice Williams, an attorney who serves as chief executive officer for BrandGOV, graduated during a ceremony April 22.Williams was the Emerge graduation speaker.
Source: 3 Solano women Emerge with eye on elected office