By Lanz Christian Bañes
Vallejo public school teachers will get a 2.5 percent raise — the first pay increase in about a decade.
“I want to have the best teachers, and I do think we have the best teachers,” trustee Hazel Wilson said Wednesday, shortly before the board voted unanimously to approve the new agreement between the Vallejo City Unified School District and the Vallejo Education Association.
The 2.5 percent raise, retroactive to July 1, is in line with wage increases approved earlier by the board for both district managers and classified employees.
Additionally, the new contract calls for a new evaluation system for teachers, with tenured employees receiving an evaluation every other year and newer teachers receiving one on an annual basis.
“For both sides, for the district and for VEA, the two things that were really important for us to take care of this year were evaluations and collaboration, and making sure teachers are prepared to move forward with Common Core and the new curriculum,” said Janny Latno, chairperson for the Vallejo Education Association bargaining committee.
via Vallejo school board approves teachers raises – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Richard Bammer
Susan Girimonte, senior director for educational services, will lead the discussion on the I-STAR Project. An acronym for Individual Self-Esteem and Transition to Adolescence with Respect, it is an international network of researchers working together with professionals from a wide range of disciplines, focusing on the transition from childhood to adulthood.
Superintendent Brian Dolan will convene a public hearing on the petition to renew the charter for Dixon Montessori School.
In other matters, Dolan will lead a discussion on student access to the band program and the Local Control Accountability Plan. The plan is a key component of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula. A LCAP, as it is called for short, lays out what educators, governing boards and teachers must do to educate students and how they are going to measure results.
via Dixon Montessori charter renewal on DUSD agenda – The Reporter.
By Richard Bammer
When Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District leaders meet tonight, they will preside over public hearings and possible approval of successor contracts for district support employees, then hear updates on the Local Control Accountability Plan, and how Gov. Jerry Brown’s the 2014-15 budget will affect the district and teachers.
Led by Marylou Wilson, assistant superintendent of human resources, public hearings will be held for several items: 1) an addendum to the agreement between Chapter 302 of the California School Employees Association, the clerical/technical/business services unit, and the district; 2) for the district’s proposal to the Chapter 302 of the CSEA, the support/operations unit, also for a successor contract.
The governing board may or may not approve the successor contracts.
via Employee contracts, LCAP update, governor’s budget on Fairfield-Suisun agenda tonight – The Reporter.
By Alyson Klein
States and school districts would be charged with thinking much more critically about how to help students who have been in special education transition into the workforce and post-secondary education, under a bipartisan, bicameral bill to renew the federal Workforce Investment Act.
The provision, which was championed by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, a longtime advocate for students with disabilities, would essentially take the idea of “inclusion,” which has become a hallmark of K-12 settings, and bring it into the workforce. (As most special educators know, “inclusion” requires students in special education to be in the least-restrictive environment possible, learning alongside their general education peers.)
via Bipartisan Workforce Bill Would Help Students Leaving Special Education – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Susan Frey
Foster youth perform worse in school depending on where they are placed, such as group homes, and how long they stay there, according to a new report that reveals the impact of living conditions and other factors on the academic achievement of foster children.
The Invisible Achievement Gap, Part 2 follows an earlier report that detailed the dismal academic achievement of California’s 43,000 school-aged foster youth.
In the latest report, the researchers found that older foster students – particularly those who live in group homes or have experienced three or more foster placements in one school year – have the lowest academic achievement of all foster youth.
via Where foster kids live affects school performance, report says | EdSource Today.
By Susan Winlow
Krystal Jackson had reason to celebrate Wednesday morning.
The 27-year-old’s graduation from Solano Community College with two associate degrees was 10 years in the making as the busy Fairfield woman juggled a full-time job, the Air Force Reserve, a young toddler and a baby on the way.
“This is a long time coming,” she said as she walked toward the graduate lineup with her husband, Searcy Jackson IV, and 2-year-old Searcy Jackson V.
Her husband added, “It’s going to be a great day. I’m glad it’s finally here.”
via Solano College sends off 68th graduating class Daily Republic.
Times-Herald staff report Posted:
The Benicia school board will consider Thursday cutting several classified positions.
By law, districts must give classified employees a 60-day notice of potential layoff.
Slated for reduction this year are three Title One Instructional Assistants, a computer resource technician and a computer resource technician at Liberty High School.
At Thursday’s meeting, the Benicia Unified School District and the classified employees union will also both sunshine their proposals for the next round of contract negotiations.
The board meets at 7 p.m. Thursday after a 6 p.m. closed session at the district offices, 350 East K St.
via Benicia school board to consider layoffs – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Brian Thiemer:
Education is a vital and noble cause that requires hearty investments of money and time. Measuring the efficiency of the money poured into the ‘black box’ that is our education system is a subjective but necessary metric. There are those who feel that “Any dollar spent on education is a dollar well spent,” but education performance does not necessarily rise with the education budget.
One notable example of this phenomenon is ongoing in New Jersey. The Newark school district, already equipped with a billion dollar budget, has a 67 percent graduation rate. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in conjunction with then-mayor Cory Booker and Governor Chris Christie, offered to donate $100 million of his wealth to the school district over 5 years, provided that matching funds were developed. This would provide $40 million dollars a year to a needy school district. Yet, after a few years of this resource infusion, the school district has nothing to show, other than a pile of invoices from a herd of consultants.
via Expenditure request raises skepticism on school funding woes – The Reporter.
Times-Herald staff report Posted:
Several local nonprofits will share in more than $800,000 in grants, officials of Kaiser Permanente in Solano and Napa counties announced Tuesday. Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit grants are awarded annually to local organizations that apply for them to fund specific programs and projects. The applications are considered and approved if the proposals align with Kaiser Permanente grant objectives, officials said. These four objectives are to improve access to health care, health services and health education; to support healthy eating; to help train and develop the youth workforce; and to create safe environments for individuals and families to live, work, walk, and play.
via Local organizations to share more than $800,000 in Kaiser Permanente grants – The Reporter.
By Alyson Klein
Sixty years after the passage of Brown v. Board, there’s still a wide gulf in educational opportunities for low-income and minority students and their more advantaged peers, including when it comes to access to rigorous coursework aimed at preparing students for college and the workforce, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told the audience at the Education Writers Association annual seminar here today.
For instance, a new analysis by the Department of Education’s office for civil rights, showed that just 68 percent of African-American students attend high schools that offer calculus. That’s compared to 81 percent of white high school students, and 87 percent of Asian American students. What’s more, American Indian and Native American students are much less likely than any other ethnic group to attend high schools that offer Advanced Placement classes, calculus, or physics.
“This dummying down of expectations is devastating to families, communities, and ultimately to our nation,” Duncan said. “We can’t continue to relegate talent and potential to the sidelines.”
via Arne Duncan Spotlights Inequities in Rigorous Coursework – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Susan Winlow
A newly minted charter school – Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy – is just a few days away from closing its second enrollment window.
The deadline to submit intent-to-enroll forms is Saturday. All required documents need to be included in the packet, such as grade-level printout, proof of residence and for kindergarten, a birth certificate copy.
An informational meeting will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday at Valley Church, 5063 Maple Road. Intent-to-enroll forms can be submitted at the meeting.
via Enrollment period ending for new Vacaville charter school Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
They arrived to a star-worthy welcome – red carpet, claps and cheers.
The 450 high school students from throughout the Vacaville School District filed off the half-dozen buses Tuesday in a wave of excitement as they looked forward to a morning away from school bells, books and tests.
Itzel Gallardo, 14, a Vacaville High School student, said she was looking forward to hanging out with friends “away from school instead of stressing over finals.”
The students, who will be followed by another 450 middle school students having their day Wednesday, were selected for the annual Vacaville Chamber of Commerce Gotcha event by their teachers and earned a few hours at Stars Recreation, the local entertainment center.
via Vacaville students earn playtime at Stars Daily Republic.
By Keri Luiz
A draft of the Local Control Accountability Plan, used for measuring the progress of Benicia’s schools, will be reviewed Thursday by trustees.
The board also will consider an annual “declaration of need” for fully qualified educators, and a reduction in some school services.
The LCAP must be in place for a school district to receive Local Control Funding Formula LCCF monies from the state. Through the LCCF, funds have been rolled into a base funding per student, plus a supplemental grant add-on for English learners, socioeconomically needy students and foster youth.
The LCCF provides about $6,321 per student, and the funding is based on attendance of the students, not just enrollment.
via School district gets paperwork in order.
By Richard Bammer
It is widely acknowledged that U.S. public schools and community colleges would seize up and sputter like a clunky old car engine without dependable, savvy and caring classified, or support, employees.
Day in and out, sometimes before sunrise, or when the first school bells ring in the morning, or classroom doors swing open, they are often the unsung heroes and heroines who keep offices running smoothly, keep campuses safe, clean and repaired, cook the cafeteria food, help out teachers as classroom aides, keep the libraries running efficiently, and drive the buses.
To honor them, the state Department of Education and Vacaville Unified set aside this week, through Saturday, as Classified School Employee Week, a sort-of collective pat on the back and thanks to an essential group of workers.
via Country High secretary named top Vacaville Unified School District classified employee for 2014 – The Reporter.
By John McCarthy
Differentiated instruction (DI) is a vast system in which it is difficult for many teachers to find a foothold for supporting students in a meaningful way. Teachers want and expect everyone to succeed, yet the means to that end can be foggy at best. How can we ensure that planned learning experiences have a significant and positive impact on student learning? We can answer this question with three important guidelines that will transform student learning experiences through meaningful differentiation.
Evaluation, Buy-In, and Strategic Diversity
Know Your Students’ Strengths
Effective differentiation starts with knowing the students’ academic strengths, interests, and perspectives. Formative assessments, thinking styles inventories (1), and surveys help to construct lessons and scaffolds that strategically meet needs. Often we gather data about the content and skill areas where a student struggles. However, this data lacks a well-rounded view of the student.
via Students Matter: 3 Steps for Effective Differentiated Instruction | Edutopia.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
The California County Boards of Education on Sunday presented state Sen. Lois Wolk with its legislator of the year award for her ongoing support of public education.
This is the first time the award has been bestowed in years, due to historic budget cuts to education during the state’s economic recession.
Heidi Weiland, California County Boards of Education president, praised Wolk’s efforts on behalf of the Local Control Funding Formula, the Local Control and Accountability Plan and Common Core state standards.
via Statewide education group honors Wolk Daily Republic.
By Irma Widjojo
This year’s graduation is going to be extra emotional for Vallejo’s High School Principal Clarence “Izzy” Isadore.
Isadore, who’s been overseeing the school for the past three years, announced to his staff last week that he’s resigning as principal to take on a new role in the Vallejo City Unified School District.
Beginning next school year, Isadore will be the Middle School Site Support Manager of the district, a new position that will oversee programs for eighth graders to transition into high school.
“I think this is what I’m destined to do,” Isadore said in an interview Monday.
The Vallejo native said he’s been pushing for such programs in the school district.
via Vallejo High principal resigns, takes new role – Vallejo Times Herald.
Times-Herald staff report Posted:
Vallejo teachers could at last see a raise.
School board members will take up the issue at Wednesday’s regular meeting, two weeks after first publicly disclosing the new tentative contract between the Vallejo Education Association and the Vallejo City Unified School District.
The agreement, ratified by teachers earlier this month, calls for a 2.5 percent wage increase. The raise is in line with those that the board has already given to its classified employees and to management.
Teachers have not gotten a raise since before the state took over the district in 2004.
Also on the agenda is the approval of the Facilities Master Plan to begin the process of updating the facilities to meet the new programs that have been adopted by the district. The plan is a culmination of work done in the summer and fall of 2013, which incorporated input from staff and community members from all of the 25 sites.
via Vallejo teachers could get pay raises – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Sarah Rohrs
Holding a Japanese eggplant to put in his family’s garden, Jack Childs said he and his wife come to the annual Loma Vista Farm Spring Festival for a variety of reasons.
Their 15-month old daughter is the biggest one.
“We’d like to expose her to animals and nature and get her away from TVs and cell phones,” Childs said Saturday during the annual festival in the North Vallejo teaching farm.
“We’re hoping to raise her with an understanding of where her food comes from,” he added.
via Community farm fun at Loma Vista Spring Festival – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
With music from Pharrell to the Village People, special education students in Solano County danced the morning away Friday in Armijo High School gym.
About 200 students filled the gym floor, some in motorized wheelchairs, a few with white canes used by the blind.
One couple, Lacey Culloty and Kristian Galvante, slowed danced to almost every song. A bevy of adults looked on, snapping pictures as the couple easily moved across the dance floor.
Nearby, a circle formed around those willing to give their break dancing skills a try. As a new dancer entered the inner circle, they were greeted by cheers. It was the same response for those who spun on the gym floor, then hopped up and out of the inner circle to watch others showcase their skills.
via Special ed students dance morning away at Armijo Daily Republic.