Vacaville school trustees face light agenda Thursday – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

With new LCAPs and annual budgets sent to county offices of education, California school districts tend to face light midsummer agendas in July and August and that will be the case Thursday, when Vacaville Unified leaders meet.

In what likely will be a short meeting, concerned mostly with financial matters, trustees are expected to approve a revised 2017-18 salary schedule for classified, or school-suppport, managers, an unrepresented employee group that ranges from custodial manager and public information officer to director of maintenance and technology coordinator, with monthly pay, depending on which of five steps they fall under, that ranges from (all Step 1, or beginning, salaries, for example) $5,340 and $7,524 to $8,925 and $9,167.

There was no indication in agenda documents about why the salary scheduled was revised.

Source: Vacaville school trustees face light agenda Thursday

Fairfield-Suisun schools spur state law to pay for student field trips – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation by Assemblyman Jim Frazier allowing school districts to pay for student field trips to other states – a measure spurred by Fairfield-Suisun School District students competing in a robotics event in Kentucky.

“I thank Fairfield-Suisun School District for bringing the need for this legislation to my attention,” Frazier said in a press release.

“School districts have been explicitly prohibited from using funds to help students participate in field trips or educational excursions out of state,” said Frazier, D-Discovery Bay. “AB 341 changes this, allowing schools to use district funds to enhance educational opportunities by increasing access to student resources.”

Source: Fairfield-Suisun schools spur state law to pay for student field trips

State board faces deadline, tough decisions on new federal law for improving schools | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

With only two meetings left before a mid-September deadline, the State Board of Education is feeling the heat to make progress on the state plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Two of the unsettled issues the board will delve into this week are the criteria for choosing the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools needing assistance and a framework for a coherent system of oversight and assistance in a state with nearly 1,000 school districts and more than 10,000 schools.

In lengthy letters, civil rights and advocacy groups in particular criticized the school selection methodology as seriously flawed. They also called for more details on how assistance would work, who’d provide it and for clearer expectations and benchmarks of progress. A lot of changes are needed in the next 60 days, before submission to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, to make a credible plan, they said.

Source: State board faces deadline, tough decisions on new federal law for improving schools | EdSource

Summer Reading Program, other children’s events return to library – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The Summer Reading Program is back at the Benicia Public Library. Once again, children are encouraged to not let their minds wander over the summer and spend the season reading.Returning this year is the Bingo game, in which students fill squares after reading certain books and performing certain activities like making a joke book, attending the farmers market, going to a Movie in the Park or go to a children’s program at the library. Once they get a “Bingo,” they can bring their cards to the library and receive prizes. This challenge will run through Thursday, Aug. 31. The Summer Reading Program is open for children through the age of 13.

In addition to the reading challenge, the library will host fun weekly events for specific age groups. Preschoolers and kindergarteners through third-graders will enjoy the Caterpillar Puppets’ “Beto the Builder” show on July 11, a bubble show by the Bubble Lady on July 18, and songs and stories with Musical Robot on July 25. All shows for this age group are Tuesdays at 7 p.m.

Source: Summer Reading Program, other children’s events return to library

Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to meet – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified’s Measure Q Citizens Bond Oversight Committee will meet in Wednesday in Dixon.

Members will hear an overview of existing bond projects from John Calise, the rural school district’s director of facilities and operations.

They also will hear from a guest speaker Anton Jungherr on organizational guidance.

Gary Riddle, a committee member, will offer a report and the committee may take action, according to agenda documents.

Calise will present information about the committee’s website content.

Source: Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee to meet

Request for ‘Andrew’s Bookshelf’ bench back before Fairfield-Suisun trustees – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

A request to dedicate a bench in front of the Armijo High School library in honor of Andrew Lucas, a student who died in a 2015 car crash along Waterman Boulevard, returns to Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees when they meet Thursday.

Trustees received the request as an information item at their June 22 meeting and can act Thursday.

Lucas’ friends created the club called “Andrew’s Bookshelf” that sends high school students to elementary schools to read to students. The club wants to place a bench in front of the library – Lucas’ favorite place on campus – to honor their friend, the request states.

Source: Request for ‘Andrew’s Bookshelf’ bench back before Fairfield-Suisun trustees

Teacher recruitment trips for Fairfield-Suisun School District – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Six trips to recruit teachers cost the Fairfield-Suisun School District $25,419, says a report that goes before the school board Thursday.

School district staff traveled in March and April to New Mexico, Michigan, Oregon, Montana and twice to Colorado for teacher recruitment fairs.Other

Other out-of-state travel includes a $9,470 trip by four employees from the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School to attend the Commission on Adult Basic Education Conference held April 2-5 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Source: Teacher recruitment trips cost $25,419 for Fairfield-Suisun School District

Mattress company begins school supplies drive for foster youth – The Reporter

Summer vacation is underway, but a new school year is right around the corner.

Consider that classes begin Aug. 9 in Dixon Unified, Aug. 17 for Vacaville Unified, Aug. 21 for Vacaville Christian Schools, and Aug. 23 for Travis Unified.

But for local foster children who might be headed to a new school, this time of year can bring concern about fitting in and keeping up academically. Having the necessary school supplies can help ease their worry and allow them to focus on learning.

To that end, Mattress Firm, the mattress chain store with two outlets in Vacaville, is hosting, through Aug. 27, its School Supply Drive for Foster Kids, offering a simple template for the community to donate, a corporate spokesman said in a press release.

Source: Mattress company begins school supplies drive for foster youth

Former Vacan re-elected to CTA board of directors – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Jerry Eaton, a Vanden High teacher and a former Vacaville Unified trustee, has been re-elected to a three-year term as a California Teachers Association board member, The Reporter has learned.

Eaton, formerly a Vacaville resident who now lives in Ukiah, started his latest term on June 26, representing 105 teachers unions with 11,000 educators in the CTA’s sprawling District A, which stretches from San Francisco northward along the coast to the Oregon border, a nine-county area that includes Solano.

Just returned from the annual National Education Association representative assembly in Boston, Eaton, in a telephone interview Friday, said, as a CTA board member, he mostly deals with “governance issues, bylaws and (CTA) board meetings” in Burlingame.

Source: Former Vacan re-elected to CTA board of directors

Back-to-school resource fair for FSUSD families – The Reporter

Fairfield-Suisun Unified schools kick off the new academic year on Aug. 16, a little more than five weeks from today.

So it is time for the district’s annual Back to School Resource Fair, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 12 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1600 Union Ave.

District officials and event organizers say families are appreciative, students receive needed supplies, and community partners interact with attendees.

For businesses, nonprofits, agencies that wish to participate, to provide resources or services at the event, send an email to Liz Teresi, at LizTe@fsusd.org, by July 21.

Source: Back-to-school resource fair for FSUSD families

Benicia Middle School drum major reflects on undefeated season – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Meadow Iniguez had an incredible season with her school band. She was an undefeated drum major, picked up several awards and got to compete in the high school division.The catch? She is only in middle school.

The incoming eighth-grader at Benicia Middle School has been performing music since she was a member of Joe Henderson Elementary School’s band. Meadow enjoys being able to take several different pieces of music and turn them into a cohesive work of art.“You can tell a story through music,” she said. “It’s a type of expression.”

For the last two years, Meadow has been a member of the BMS Viking Band under the direction of Glenn Walp. Along the way, she has won awards in conducting, parade band, drum major and an Outstanding Performer Award.A big achievement for Meadow was when she got to compete in Rodriguez High School’s Winter Band Review.

Source: Benicia Middle School drum major reflects on undefeated season

Andrews Park scavenger hunt raises money for Autism Speaks – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Runners will dash around Andrews Park Sunday during a scavenger hunt that raises money for Autism Speaks.

Jennifer Annuzzi of Vacaville is running the New York City Marathon Nov. 5 to support the advocacy organization that supports research and awareness campaigns for autism spectrum disorders.

Her goal is to raise $3,000. As of Thursday, she has raised a little more than $1,000.

To boost her fundraising, Annuzzi is hosting a scavenger hunt and 5K run from 8 to 10 a.m. Sunday in Andrews Park.

All ages are welcome.

“It’s a family-friendly event,” Annuzzi said. “People can come out and have a good time.”She has been a special education paraeducator with the Solano County Office of Education for 10 years.“A lot of my students do have autism,” she said.

Source: Andrews Park scavenger hunt raises money for Autism Speaks

18 states sue DeVos for delaying for-profit college rules – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Democratic attorneys general from 18 states, including California, and the District of Columbia sued U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Thursday over her decision to suspend rules that were meant to protect students from abuse by for-profit colleges.

Filed in federal court in Washington, the lawsuit says DeVos violated rule-making laws when she announced a June 14 decision to delay so-called “borrower defense to repayment” rules, which were finalized under President Barack Obama and scheduled to take effect July 1.

In her announcement saying the rules would be delayed and rewritten, DeVos said they created “a muddled process that’s unfair to students and schools.”

Source: 18 states sue DeVos for delaying for-profit college rules

SCC theater offers patrons a renovated theater, ways to name rooms, seats – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

There’s a new theater in town.The Solano Community College Performing Arts Center is ready for its debut with a grand opening gala Sept. 9.

The multimillion dollar renovation and expansion took about two years. It was funded by voter-approved Measure Q and a statewide education bond.

“It’s just fabulous,” said Darcia Tipton, Solano College Theatre’s theater technician. “I’m still pinching myself.”

For the past two years, she searched various campus buildings for theater production props that were held in a makeshift studio inside the college’s student services building. Tipton has worked at the theater for more than 25 years.

Source: SCC theater offers patrons a renovated theater, ways to name rooms, seats

Vacaville school board inks $1M contract – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A charter school petition denial and approval of the 2017-18 budgets were the main stories that emerged last week from a Vacaville Unified governing board meeting, but some other pocketbook matters also crossed the trustees’ dais and were approved.

Trustees OK’d a so-called “piggyback co-op bid” with San Gabriel Valley Food Services to contract with Gold Star Foods, in an amount not to exceed $1 million. The contract applies to the distribution of frozen and refrigerated foods for the 2017-18 academic year, with an option to extend the bid for two more. Vacaville Unified currently gets some of its food through Gold Star, which has a large warehouse in Dixon.

Source: Vacaville school board inks $1M contract with food services firm for frozen, refrigerated foods

How Schools, Parents And Organizations Are Trying To Close The Achievement Gap – NPR

According to the latest Pew Research data, college graduation rates are up for Americans in nearly every racial and ethnic group.

Last year, former President Barack Obama spoke about how crucial this is for the U.S. economy.

“By 2020, two out of three job openings will require some form of higher education,” he said during an event at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. “Our public schools had been the envy of the world, but the world caught up. And we started getting outpaced when it came to math and science education. And African American and Latino students, in part because of the legacy of discrimination, too often lagged behind our white classmates — something called the achievement gap that, by one estimate, costs us hundreds of billions of dollars a year.”

Source: How Schools, Parents And Organizations Are Trying To Close The Achievement Gap (Rebroadcast) – 1A

Summer and school year programs give the very lowest math achievers answers, and hope | EdSource

By Carolyn Jones

Cesar Conriquez, 12, was doing OK in math until 4th grade, when the curriculum turned to division. He got stuck. Really stuck. As his class moved on to more complex mathematical equations, Cesar was increasingly mired in confusion, and his grades in 4th and 5th grade plummeted.

“My teacher was helping me out but I still didn’t get it. Fractions, whole numbers … I couldn’t do it. It was stressing me out,” said the Pittsburg youth. “I wasn’t happy with my report card and my parents weren’t either. So I asked if I could get extra help.”

His parents enrolled him in Pittsburg Unified’s Summer Math Institute, a free, five-week intensive math program for middle-school students of all abilities, with special classes for students whose math skills are several grades below where they should be.

Source: Summer and school year programs give the very lowest math achievers answers, and hope | EdSource

Top state ed official extols budget increases for K-12 schools – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson was all smiles when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the 2017–18 state budget. After all, it increases funding for K-12 public schools, after-school programs, early education and child care, and teacher recruitment and training.

“When we invest more in our students, we help them succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” he said in a press release issued late last month. “This budget continues the strong growth in what I call the ‘California Way,’ where legislators, the governor, education groups, the business community, and others are working closely together to keep improving our education system.”

The Legislature approved the budget June 15, the date required by the state Constitution. Brown’s signature on the state’s key funding document kicked off the new spending plan July 1.

California has the nation’s largest public school system with more than 6.2 million students at nearly 10,000 public schools.

 

Source: Top state ed official extols budget increases for K-12 schools

State Budget with Increases for Education Funding – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today thanked Governor Brown for signing a 2017–18 state budget that increases funding for kindergarten through twelfth grade public schools, after school programs, early education and child care, and teacher recruitment and training.

“The Legislature and Governor clearly showed their strong and ongoing support of high-quality public education in California,” Torlakson said. “When we invest more in our students, we help them succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college.

“This budget continues the strong growth in what I call the ‘California Way,’ where legislators, the Governor, education groups, the business community, and others are working closely together to keep improving our education system.”

The Legislature approved the budget on June 15, the date required by the State Constitution. Governor Brown’s signature on Tuesday means the new state funding plan starts on July 1.

Source: State Budget with Increases for Education Funding – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

Bold explorers of robotics, biotechnology – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Sitting on a stool in a Will C. Wood High School science room Friday, Edwin Gomez Perez, 10, used a remote hand-held device to control several linkbots, small softball-sized plastic robots, their wheels and gears whirring quietly on the floor in front of him.

Nearby, standing at a table, Benjamin Rocha, 10, guided a linkbot across the table’s surface as a half-dozen people, classmates and a parent, looked on as the ’bot rolled a few inches in a straight line, then took a half-right turn.

Meanwhile, a few moments later in an adjacent science room and lab at the Marshall Road campus, Alex Vales, 11, spoke softly with his father, Anthony, who heard his son explain how bacteria thrive — at least in a sealed Petri dish.

Source: Bold explorers of robotics, biotechnology