Solano board rejects Elite Charter School on 4-3 vote – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Solano County Board of Education trustees turned down Elite Charter School by a 4-3 vote Wednesday after supporters said the school would address an achievement gap for African-American and Latino students but opponents said public schools are dealing with the gap.

“It’s a hard call,” Trustee Peggy Cohen-Thompson said. “It’s a very hard call.”

She along with Trustees Mayrene Bates and Michell Coleman voted for Dana Dean’s motion to deny the Elite Charter School petition.

Bates spoke about attending all-black schools from kindergarten to college and protests about the separation of races.

She said she was concerned when hearing proposals to do more for one group than another.

Source: Solano board rejects Elite Charter School on 4-3 vote

Board backs $19M in work for Public Safety Academy – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

A plan that calls for $19 million in spending for a new library, gym and locker buildings at the Public Safety Academy won support Thursday from Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.

School district staff had recommended approval for the agreement between the district and Landmark Construction in Placer County.

The Public Safety Academy opened in 2012 and has a higher attendance rate than other schools in the Fairfield-Suisun School District, few suspensions and “is doing very well,” according to a self-study for its accreditation.

Source: Board backs $19M in work for Public Safety Academy

Trustees OK pay raises for Fairfield-Suisun School District teachers – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

A contract that grants teachers a 2 percent pay raise for the previous school year and a 1 percent raise this year won approval Thursday from Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.

The agreement between the Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association and the school district covers July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2019.

Robert Martinez, assistant superintendent, and Stephanie Cobb of the teachers association signed the contract Dec. 1.

Source: Trustees OK pay raises for Fairfield-Suisun School District teachers

Fairfield High School self-study gets green light from trustees – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

A self-study of Fairfield High School that includes the finding that 49 percent teaching staff at the school is white while only 12 percent of the students are won approval Thursday.

Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees approved the study is part of the accreditation for Fairfield High.

Employees required to have a teaching credential, including teachers, speech therapists and school psychologists, represent the teaching staff.

Forty-four percent of students at Fairfield High School are Hispanic, 20 percent are black and 9 percent are Filipino, the study states.

Source: Fairfield High School self-study gets green light from trustees

School-Based Telemedicine Can Be a Game Changer For Students With Asthma – Education Week

By Evie Blad

A partnership between schools and health care providers could make a big difference for children with asthma, who don’t always take their medication properly, even after they are initially diagnosed with the disease, says a new study.

Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center tried a combination of two school-based interventions for 200 young students with the respiratory illness, says the study, which was published this week in the Journal of American Medicine Pediatrics. The children took their preventative asthma medication at school, under the supervision of the school nurse to make sure they were using it properly. And, to address circumstances that may keep them from receiving preventative care and check-ups, those same students used telemedicine equipment to meet remotely with a primary care physician three times throughout the school year to assess how the medicine was working and any follow-up concerns.

Source: School-Based Telemedicine Can Be a Game Changer For Students With Asthma, Study Finds – Rules for Engagement – Education Week

Torlakson Praises Governor’s Proposed Budget – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today on Governor Brown’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year:

“Governor Brown’s budget proposal provides a big boost to our public school students. The proposal shows how far we have come as a state in the past seven years in increasing investments in education so our students can continue to succeed in college and the 21st Century economy.

The proposal adds $3.8 billion to the annual Proposition 98 guarantee for public education, which will raise per-pupil spending 66 percent above 2011-12 levels and bring total Proposition 98 funding from $47.3 billion in 2011-12 to $78.3 billion. The proposed budget will provide $11,614 per pupil in the next fiscal year, compared with $7,008 in 2011-12.

The budget also maintains Governor Brown’s commitment to fully funding the Local Control Funding Formula. The formula is California’s ambitious, ground-breaking plan to help all students, while giving extra resources to those with the greatest needs, students from low-income families, English learners, and foster youth.

Source: Torlakson Praises Governor’s Proposed Budget – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Benicia High School grad scores lead role in ‘Hamilton’ – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Austin Scott has had an incredible acting journey. The 2011 Benicia High School graduate has gone from starring in advertisements at the age of 8 to being cast in the title role in “Hamilton” for the smash hit musical’s national tour.

“It’s a dream come true,” Scott said of his role.

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning hip-hop musical about the life of America’s first treasury secretary debuted on Broadway in 2015 and began its first national tour last year. Scott is succeeding Michael Luwoye, who starred in the original touring production and is now playing the same role in the Broadway version.

Scott first caught the acting bug at a young age when he and his mother passed by a John Robert Powers performance academy which was offering acting classes.“I just kind of looked up at her and said ‘I want to do that,’” he said. “She took me in, and that day we signed up for acting classes.”

Source: Benicia High School grad scores lead role in ‘Hamilton’

SCOE trustees deny ELITE charter school petition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In a packed Fairfield meeting room, Solano County Office of Education trustees on Wednesday voted 4-3 to deny the petition submitted by ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School.

During the meeting that lasted more than four hours, which included more than 60 speakers, a small group of educators cheered after the result.

The closed vote, taken in the county agency’s Business Center Drive offices, a contentious Dec. 13 public hearing that saw some 50 speakers in support or opposition to the petition praised, assailed or merely questioned the document forged by Ramona Bishop, the former Vallejo City Unified superintendent who was fired from her post last March.

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Source: SCOE trustees deny ELITE charter school petition

Solano representatives praise governor’s proposed state budget – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Three members of Solano County’s delegation in the state Legislature issued optimistic responses Wednesday to the governor’s state budget plan.

State Assemblyman Jim Frazier said he’s proud to see the level of transportation spending in Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed 2018-19 budget. State Sen. Bill Dodd, whose district bore the brunt of the region’s October wildfires, focused on disaster-prevention and disaster-relief spending.

“Supporting wildfire recovery and reducing fire risk must be top priorities in the budget,” Dodd said in a prepared statement. “I believe Governor Brown’s budget reflects a thoughtful starting point for this year’s budget negotiations. I will be working with the administration and my colleagues in the Legislature to expand our efforts on disaster recovery and preparedness.”

Source: Solano representatives praise governor’s proposed state budget

More resources needed to help Solano youth thrive – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

Solano’s youth are improving, though more can be done to ensure they thrive.

Such was the sentiment Tuesday during a joint meeting of the Solano County Board of Supervisors and First 5 Solano.

During the hours-long event, officials talked about children, the milestones that put them on the path to success, available resources and gaps and, most important, what happens next.

“We are clearly supporting children in all aspects,” emphasized Supervisor Erin Hannigan at the start of the gathering.

Officials hammered home the need to help youths reach set milestones throughout their lives.

From ensuring bonding between parents and children to reducing kids’ stress to help their brains grow to motivating them academically, physically and socially through graduation, experts said all the stops should be pulled out in the interest of developing healthy youth.

Source: More resources needed to help Solano youth thrive

SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An action sure to draw a large crowd, the Solano County Office of Education governing board will vote Wednesday to grant or deny the proposed ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School petition submitted by Ramona Bishop, the former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified who was fired from her post last March.

With county staff urging trustees to deny the petition, the board’s decision will come about one month after a contentious December board meeting that saw several dozen speakers address trustees in support of and opposition to the petition, which would establish a charter school first in Vallejo, then other charters in Fairfield and Vacaville in the coming months and years.

Just how much sway the county staff recommendation will ultimately have remains an open question, but it will certainly be on the minds of opponents, who likely will drive home the point during their remarks to the seven-member board before the vote.

Source: SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter

Retirement incentive program, two special ed contracts on VUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A teacher retirement incentive program, a substitute classified employee salary schedule for the current year, and two major contracts for nursing services for two special-needs students are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet Thursday.

The Vacaville Teachers Association has agreed to offer an early retirement program to members. If they submit nonrevocable resignation letters between Friday and Feb. 12, they will receive an extra $1,000 in their June 30 paycheck.

Trustees will consider the matter as a memorandum of understanding, dated Dec. 14, and are expected to approve it.

The seven-member governing board also likely will approve an adjustment to the substitute classified employee pay schedule, with pay rates, depending on the job (student monitor to payroll technician, for example), to range from $12.40 per hour to $18.90 per hour. It will take effect Thursday.

Source: Retirement incentive program, two special ed contracts on VUSD agenda

Solano County education staff recommends Elite Charter School denial – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Elite Charter School’s petition should be denied, the Solano County Office of Education staff recommends in citing potentially devastating budgets cuts for the Vallejo City School District.

The staff also states that programs Elite Charter proposes are already available.

The Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Pena Adobe Room at 5100 Business Center Drive in Fairfield.

Ramona Bishop, former Vallejo City School District superintendent, is the petitioner for Elite.

Source: Solano County education staff recommends Elite Charter School denial

Central Labor Council opposes Elite Charter School petition – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

The Napa-Solano Central Labor Council opposes the Elite Charter School petition that Solano County Board of Education members take up Wednesday.

Executive Director Jon Riley said Monday that the labor council voted unanimously to oppose this “privately run regulated charter for many reasons” – including laws that do not ensure adequate transparency and financial oversight of tax-funded charter schools in California.

“Do we really want or need privatization of our education system?” Riley asked. “And do we want the decision to do so taken away from the individual school districts and their elected boards, who all have different needs, further eroding the say the voters have in how their taxes are spent?”

Source: Central Labor Council opposes Elite Charter School petition

Board of Supervisors to recognize BMS campus supervisor as Classified Employee of the Year – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The Solano County Board of Supervisors will present and adopt a resolution recognizing Benicia Middle School campus supervisor Angie Porter as the county’s Classified School Employee of the Year at today’s meeting.

“The Classified School Employee of the Year program is designed to highlight the contributions of classified school employees who support the education of our public school students in pre-kindergarten through grade twelve and to pay tribute to the tireless efforts of outstanding classified school employees,” according to the resolution. “They are vital members who play key roles in creating a school environment that promotes student achievement, safety and health.”

Porter has served as Benicia Middle’s campus supervisor for seven years where she has often been cited as the first person that students see when they arrive in the morning. She supervises students before and after school as well as during lunch and passing periods. She also provides support for teachers in their classrooms. Beyond her role as campus supervisor, she also is a co-facilitator of the student anger management group and a team member of Sources of Strength, in which students meet in peer groups to foster positivity for students dealing with anxiety or depression; and the school’s Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support program, a framework aimed at creating an educational climate to help all students achieve and learn.

Source: Board of Supervisors to recognize BMS campus supervisor as Classified Employee of the Year

Teach an adult to read, improve your community – Times Herald

By Times Herald Staff

The Solano County Literacy Program seeks Adult Literacy Volunteer tutors, library officials announced.

Despite the fact that “literacy is vital for a healthy and thriving community,” more than 60,000 Solano County adults are functionally illiterate, meaning their reading and writing skills are inadequate to manage their daily living and employment tasks beyond a basic level, they said.

Children whose parents struggle with reading and writing are more likely to struggle in school and have low literacy skills themselves, officials said.

“Teaching an adult to read, write, and/or improve their English speaking skills can have far-reaching effects in our community,” they said. “A recent study found that adult literacy students realize an increase of about $10,000 dollars in their annual income after receiving 100 hours of literacy instruction.”

Source: Teach an adult to read, improve your community

Travis USD school-support employees to “sunshine” contract proposals – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Contract proposals between the district and school-support employees, the teacher work calendar for the 2018-19 school year, and approval, using a variable term waiver, to hire a teacher to teach medical science at Vanden High are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight.

A public hearing will be held to air the contract proposal, part of a so-called “sunshine” process, between the district and members of Chapter 454 of the California Service Employees Association, which represents the district’s classified employees, which includes bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, some clerical staff, groundskeepers, and the like.

No specific pay raise percentages were mentioned in agenda documents, but the agreement to sunshine is the public notification of what will be discussed during pending negotiations for the 2017-18 school year contract.

Union officials could not be reached for comment at press time, but it is likely they will petition for what Travis teachers are seeking after many months of wage-and-benefit talks: a 5 percent across-the-board salary boost and possibly benefits that may boost their total package by a couple more points.

SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An action sure to draw a large crowd, the Solano County Office of Education governing board will vote Wednesday to grant or deny the proposed ELITE Public Schools Countywide Charter School petition submitted by Ramona Bishop, the former superintendent of Vallejo City Unified who was fired from her post last March.

With county staff urging trustees to deny the petition, the board’s decision will come about one month after a contentious December board meeting that saw several dozen speakers address trustees in support of and opposition to the petition, which would establish a charter school first in Vallejo, then other charters in Fairfield and Vacaville in the coming months and years.

Just how much sway the county staff recommendation will ultimately have remains an open question, but it will certainly be on the minds of opponents, who likely will drive home the point during their remarks to the seven-member board before the vote.

Source: SCOE trustees set to vote on ELITE charter

A challenge to solve problems at Travis – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Solano County Office of Education leaders, in a partnership with Travis Air Force Base, are launching an event, believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, that will enlist the help of Solano County high school students to tackle real-world problems at Travis Air Force Base.

The Phoenix Spark Challenge — described as a strategy used by the military to problem-solve among military operational experts, academia, and government agencies — will take place May 18 at the sprawling base south of Vacaville.

The academic challenge calls for students “to design, solve, and innovate in resolving real-life problems facing Travis Air Force Base,” Gethsemane Moss, senior director of community engagement, wrote in a press release.

Source: A challenge to solve problems at Travis

Vallejo school district opposes ELITE charter – The Reporter

By John Glidden

Vallejo school district officials are asking the Solano County Board of Education to deny the ELITE Public Charter School petition because the lead petitioner is “unlikely” to be successful in implementing the program.

That petitioner is former Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Ramona Bishop, who submitted the petition to the county last fall.

Bishop was the VCUSD Superintendent from 2011 until last March when she was fired, without cause, by Vallejo school district trustees.

In a scathing 11-page letter sent Dec. 22 to the county board, Vallejo officials argued the petition fails to meet the legal standard for the establishment of a countywide charter, and that the petition does not contain comprehensive descriptions of all the elements required of a petition under Education Code.

Source: Vallejo school district opposes ELITE charter