The Educated Guess: More dismal science test results

By John Fensterwald – Educated Guess

Once again, California students have done stunningly worse than their eighth grade peers in other states on Science 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), a biennial test of knowledge in science.

The results were announced earlier this month on the same day as the release of the first draft of the Next Generation Science Standards, which the National Research Council and states have been developing. Many California science educators are counting on the new standards, which focus on an in-depth understanding of science concepts, to jump-start improvement in science in California. Count Elizabeth Stage, the director of the Lawrence Hall of Science, the public science center at UC Berkeley, among the optimists, but only, she adds, if the state makes science a priority, with more time spent on  it and training for teachers in how it should be taught.

via More dismal science test results – by John Fensterwald – Educated Guess.

The Reporter: Vacaville Unified School District leaders, teachers agree on tentative 1-year pay package

By Richard Bammer/

With both sides watching budget deadlines, even as the state Legislature haggles over spending priorities and cuts, the Vacaville Teachers Association and Vacaville Unified School District leaders have agreed on a tentative one-year pay and benefits package.

Teachers agreed to a 6.5 percent salary reduction, or six furlough days, if Gov. Jerry Brown’s November tax initiative fails to pass; and to a 3.5 percent reduction, or one furlough day, if it passes, association president Moira McSweeney said during Thursday’s board meeting in the Educational Services Center.

Association members will vote on the agreement in the coming days, she told the trustees, who will place it on the June 14 board agenda for approval/disapproval. If approved, the contract will run from July 1 to June 30, 2013.

via Vacaville Unified School District leaders, teachers agree on ….

Vallejo Times-Herald: Two Solano College students earn Bachelor degrees through new partnership

Solano Community College’s first students to earn bachelor of art degrees through a new partnership with a local university crossed the proverbial graduation stage this week.

Susan Amil and Sharlice Wright graduated with bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Arts through the college’s two-year partnership with Sonoma State University.

The pair were recognized for their achievements at Wednesday’s commencement ceremony on Solano College’s Fairfield campus.

The partnership, which now includes 25 students, allows community college students to obtain a liberal arts degree while taking classes at Solano College’s Vallejo campus.

Students can take a variety of social sciences, humanities and natural sciences taught by Sonoma State faculty but in classrooms on the Vallejo campus.

via Two Solano College students earn Bachelor degrees through new partnership.

KTXL-TV: Sports And Other Extracurriculars To Be Cut In Fairfield-Suisun

Jesse Scholtens has a 94-mile-an-hour fastball, and he has been getting ready for this Spring for as long as he can remember.

“It’s what I’ve wanted my whole life. And I’m sure there are a lot of kids out there who’ve been wanting to do the same thing since they were 4-years-old, since they could hold a baseball,” Scholtens said.

Scholtens is tied for the California State record number of no-hitters thrown by a high school pitcher, and he’s got one more game to pitch. For the second year in a row, the Rodriguez High School Mustangs play in Sacramento Monday for the area Division III Championship.

via Sports And Other Extracurriculars To Be Cut In Fairfield-Suisun.

KGO-TV: Fairfield school board votes to cut high school sports

When students in Fairfield start school in the fall, there’s a good chance they won’t have any sports or after school programs. The school board voted to cut them, but Thursday night students and parents are putting up a fight.

It was a packed house at the district headquarters and it was quite emotional. Parents and students say they can’t even bear the thought of going to a school that offers no extra-curricular activities.

“I want to know what we can do, as a community to get a plan in action to save our sports,” said a parent.

Parents came pleading, and so did students. Student athletes from Fairfield, Armijo and Rodriguez High say they won’t know what to do if the school district carries out its plan to eliminate sports.

via Fairfield school board votes to cut high school sports.

CBS 13-TV: Fairfield-Suisun School District Says Cuts Made Public Months Ago

FAIRFIELD (CBS13) – The Fairfield-Suisun School District insists they gave parents plenty of warning about cutting sports, arts and other after school programs but parents say that’s not the case.

“It’s been in the newspaper it’s been around,” said Kathy Marianno, board president.

The school district board members are firing back after public outrage in a Wednesday night meeting, saying that it’s no secret sports and after-school programs are on the chopping block.

Perry Polk, board president-elect, says that people just weren’t paying attention.

via Fairfield-Suisun School District Says Cuts Made Public Months Ago.

CBS 13-TV: Outcries Continues Over Fairfield-Suisun School District Sport Cuts

FAIRFIELD (CBS13) – School Board members in the Fairfield-Suisun School District dodged a meeting Wednesday night, but concerned families were back at it again Thursday, demanding an explanation.

Parents, coaches, and students all talked for more than two hours, venting their frustrations and making it clear they do not want their sports programs to go away.

“It’s humiliating and embarrassing for me and my city,” said a meeting attendee. “I just know, personally, that sports are my life.”

via Outcries Continues Over Fairfield-Suisun School District Sport Cuts.

ESPN Morning Look: Armijo High School math class trick shots

If only math class were like this back in our day. You know, with trick shots in between all the equations.

Now, we’re a little behind on our algebra here, so we can’t swear to the accuracy of their work. But these students at California’s Armijo High School have figured out a pretty creative way to spice up parabolas.

via Morning Look: Math class trick shots.

Education Week: How Should Students With Learning Disabilities Be Identified?

Who are students with learning disabilities? It depends on what state or school district you live in.

The combination of a surge in the use of response to intervention and a lack of consensus about how much of a role cognitive assessment should play in an evaluation prompted the National Center for Learning Disabilities this month to issue a new set of guidelines on its view of how students with specific learning disabilities should be identified.

As the use of RTI has grown, there have also been concerns that it has been used inappropriately, delaying or preventing the identification of some students as having learning disabilities, or other disabilities.

via How Should Students With Learning Disabilities Be Identified?.

Dixon Patch: Dixon High Physics Students Walk on Water to Make the Grade

It was sink or swim for the students of Kim McGreevey’s physics class at Dixon High School. To make the grade, the students needed to tap into their creative sides and put everything that they have learned this semester to use.

There was no shortage of ingenuity Wednesday at Pat Granucci Aquatic Center as the students transformed pipe, plastic and water jugs into floatation devices capable of crossing the swimming pool and earning them an option of skipping McGreevey’s physics final.

via Dixon High Physics Students Walk on Water to Make the Grade.

Dixon Patch: DUSD Honors Retirees, Longtime Employees at Special Ceremony

It was an often-emotional ceremony Monday at Dixon High’s Theater full of cheers, laughter and reflection of what transpired during the school year within Dixon Unified School District.

The special ceremony “Fantastic Finishing Festivities” served a triple purpose: to honor staff members who are retiring this year, acknowledge staff members who have worked for 10 years or longer within the district and to review the school year, both good and bad.

via DUSD Honors Retirees, Longtime Employees at Special Ceremony.

Daily Republic Letters: Problems with the letter about Sullivan Middle School

Anastasia Lockwood


I am a 14-year-old eighth-grader who goes to Sullivan Middle School, and frankly, I love this school to death, so I have some problems with Cliff Tillotson’s opinion (“Happy to see Sullivan go,” May 18).

First off, not all of us use profanity. In fact, a good number of us, including me, despise the use of profanity. It is vulgar and very terrible, yet have you ever asked them to stop, nicely? You cannot expect respect without giving it first.

Another thing is the garbage. Yes, some kids throw it around like it’s confetti, but don’t you think you’d be a better person, and citizen, by putting out a trash can? Contribute to the solution, don’t just point out the problem. And the ice cream man parking half a block away from your house is not a problem the school can fix, but one that you can.

via Problems with the letter about Sullivan.

Daily Republic: Rolling Hills students devour books, join ‘Million Word Club’

FAIRFIELD — Eleven-year-old Royce Guo devours books at a pace that would make most people’s heads spin.

The Rolling Hills fifth-grader has read 125 books this school year, or 7.6 million words. Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” has approximately 587,287 words.

On Thursday, Guo had seven books stacked on his desk and another in his hands. He is currently reading three of them. Asked if he enjoys a specific genre, Guo chose a diplomatic response.

“I think all books are equally great,” said Guo, who said the only TV he watches is news.

Guo is part of the school’s “Million Word Club,” a schoolwide competition to see how many words the student body can read in one school year. Last year, the school set a goal of 200 million words and read 219 million. This year the school set its sights on 250 million words. As of Thursday, they were at 295 million and eyeing the 300 million mark.

via Rolling Hills students devour books, join ‘Million Word Club’.

Daily Republic: Solano EDC breakfast stresses early education to ensure career success

FAIRFIELD — Business and civic leaders took in the oft-used message, “it takes a village” to educate a child during Thursday’s annual economic development breakfast focusing on the early years of a child’s life.

While the Solano Economic Development Corporation breakfasts take place monthly, this is the third annual event that focused on the need to start a positive path toward education while the child is young. It was emphasized by various speakers that the path, which starts at birth, can be helped by not only parents and educators, but the business community as well.

via EDC breakfast stresses early education to ensure career success.

Daily Republic: FSUSD community sounds off over school sports cuts

FAIRFIELD — Like many who spoke Thursday night, parent Antoinette Armas said she felt blindsided by news that all high school sports will be benched next year.

The school board voted on the cut in February, but members of the public said it did not do enough to spread the word to the community.

“You guys put banners out there when you want our vote, put banners out there when you need our help,” said Armas, whose daughter plays sports at Armijo High School. “Tell us how we can help you help our children.”

The board voted Feb. 23 to cut $6.5 million from its budget. The list of cuts includes closing Sullivan Middle School, significant reductions in supply budgets and to adult education and cutting the stipends to athletic coaches and advisers of popular clubs.

via Community sounds off over school sports cuts.

CA Dept of Education: STEM Task Force Announced

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the creation of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Task Force to look at how to improve learning and engage more students in scientific and technical fields, widely considered a key to the state’s economic future.

“California has always led the way in science and technology—and our future success depends on fostering an interest in these fields among our students,” Torlakson said. “Our classrooms are filled with the leaders of tomorrow, and we need to give them every opportunity to reach their potential.”

The STEM Task Force will be co-chaired by Herb Brunkhorst, Ph.D. External link opens in new window or tab. , Chair of the Department of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education at California State University, San Bernardino; and Susan Hackwood, Ph.D. External link opens in new window or tab. , Executive Director of the California Council on Science and Technology.

via STEM Task Force Announced.

The Educated Guess: Closing the bubble in foster care

By Kathryn Baron

Julio is not looking forward to his 19th birthday.  On that day in December, he’ll lose his apartment, his living expenses and the support of the state’s foster care system.  One month later, in January 2013, the young Modesto man will be eligible to reapply for foster services under AB 12, the California Fostering Connections to Success Act of 2010.

Four weeks may not seem like a long time, but for Julio – who doesn’t want his last name used – it couldn’t come at a worse time.  Next December, he’ll be taking finals at Modesto Junior College, on the way to earning a four-year degree at Cal State Stanislaus, and says the pending disruption in his life is scary.

via Closing the bubble in foster care – by Kathryn Baron.

The Reporter: It’s official, they are Solano Community College grads

By Richard Bammer/

The announcer called her name, Morissa Bianca Cappel, and the Cappel family of Vacaville, seated in the football stadium at Solano Community College, let out whoops of joy and throaty cheers, raised their hands and waved.

Then Cappel, holding her diploma onstage during Thursday’s 66th graduation ceremony at the Fairfield campus, posed briefly for a memento photo with SCC Superintendent Jowel Laguerre and walked back to her seat in front of the temporary stage, taking her place among the other 289 cap-and-gown-clad graduates. Under a cloudless sky, mild easterly breezes and balmy 80-degree late-morning temperatures, Cappel ended one part of her education journey since graduating from Vacaville High School in 2009.

via It’s official, they are Solano Community College grads.

Vallejo Times-Herald: Vallejo students say thanks to teachers at church event

By Irma Widjojo/Times-Herald staff writer/

Fifteen Vallejo public school teachers were treated like royalty at Saturday’s Teacher Appreciation Day celebration organized by a local church.

The youth of Iglesia Ni Cristo church in South Vallejo, invited their teachers to show their appreciation.

“I was very honored to be invited,” Sharon Frisinger said. “I was really touched, and have truly never felt so appreciated as a teacher before.”

Frisinger is a ninth- and tenth-grade English teacher at Jesse Bethel High School.

via Students say thanks to teachers at church event.