VUSD, Kairos charter ink MOU – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Leaders of Vacaville Unified and a new Vacaville charter school signed off on a memo of understanding that spells out the agreement’s details, including oversight and facility-use fees.

The seven-member governing board approved the document, which refers to such things as charter renewal, personnel services, food services and funding, during a trustees meeting Thursday in the Educational Services Center.

“This is unchartered waters,” said board president Sherie Mahlberg said Friday, alluding to the 11-page MOU, renewable every year unless changed. It will govern the district’s relationship with Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, an independent, TK-8 charter school formed last year by educators with local connections.

via VUSD, Kairos charter ink MOU – The Reporter.

Finding the Most Creative Ways to Help Students Advance At Their Own Pace | MindShift

By Katrina Schwartz

In 2005, New Hampshire’s Department of Education set a policy requiring schools to implement a competency-based system, but didn’t define the specific skills each school would be expected to master. State education leaders hoped that the policy would push schools towards a system in which students would not advance unless they could demonstrate proficiency in every core competency. But schools across the state have interpreted the directive in very different ways and set those competencies both broadly and narrowly.

“There wasn’t any training nor was there funding for it,” said Ryan Kaplan, Principal of Windham High School in New Hampshire.” Every school had to figure it out on their own.” Windham is in its fifth year of existence and is still working for official accreditation from the state. While it might seem easier to start an alternative teaching and assessment practice like competency-based learning in a new school, Windham educators have focused efforts elsewhere. The school has interpreted competencies broadly and has maintained a traditional grading system based on the 100 point scale, averaging scores on various assignments to get a passing grade.

via Finding the Most Creative Ways to Help Students Advance At Their Own Pace | MindShift.

Classroom Management and the Flipped Class | Edutopia

By Jon Bergmann

Lets face it. We teachers spend far too much time and energy trying to keep students quiet so that they can listen to us. We have taken countless courses and workshops on classroom management in our careers, and it seems that the underpinning goal of classroom management is for teachers to keep kids quiet so that they can learn. Is there a better way to think about classroom management?

What if the goal of class was for the students to actively engage in the content and participate in tangible ways in the learning process? Our experience before we flipped our class was that we spent the majority of class time at the front of the room. Students sat in nice neat rows as we taught them stuff. Our view of teaching had us in the front of the room “teaching.”

via Classroom Management and the Flipped Class | Edutopia.

Poll finds Common Core opposition rising | EdSource

An annual poll of Californians’ views on education contains bad news for teachers unions and advocates of the Common Core standards, good news for backers of charter schools, mixed news for preschool supporters and a warning for State Superintendent Tom Torlakson in his re-election campaign against Marshall Tuck.

The joint survey by the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education and the independent research organization Policy Analysis for California Education, or PACE, questioned 1,005 registered voters earlier this month about a range of education topics.

The poll indicated that some of the doubts and skepticism about the Common Core State Standards that have gained sway in other states are taking hold in California, too. As opposed to many states, in California the new standards in English language arts and math have the full support of the majority of the Legislature, the governor, the State Board of Education and organizations representing teachers unions, school boards and the state PTA.

via Poll finds Common Core opposition rising | EdSource.

DUSD leaders to approve final 2014-15 budget, LCAP – The Reporter

Vacaville Reporter Posted:

Dixon Unified trustees likely will sign off on a $27.4 million 2014-15 budget and an accompanying Local Control Accountability Plan.

The rural district’s budget will have $1.1 million in deficit spending and an ending balance of $1.3 million.

Additionally, the district, with 3,400 students, faces an unappropriated fund balance, or shortfall,of nearly $438,000, or 1.6 percent of the overall budget, when classes resume in mid-August.

Trustees are expected to approve a final draft of the district’s 74-page LCAP, a document that details what educators, the governing board and teachers must do to educate students and how they are going to measure results. LCAPs are key components of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, and are an effort, by giving more power to local school districts, to narrow the so-called “achievement gap,” the difference in standardized test outcomes among various ethnic groups and other subgroups.

via DUSD leaders to approve final 2014-15 budget, LCAP – The Reporter.

Teens get chance to explore nursing profession – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Valerie Kimbrough’s career choice was reaffirmed Wednesday.

The 2014 Armijo High School graduate is one of 32 teens participating in the 10th annual Nurse Camp hosted by The NorthBay Healthcare Nursing Academy.

Kimbrough has wanted to be a nurse since she was young.

“My aunt was a nurse,” she said. “I would see her dressed in her uniform. I wanted to be like her.”

Participating in the four-day camp, which included two days at VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville and two at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield, offered her the opportunity to get a glimpse into her future.

via Teens get chance to explore nursing profession Daily Republic.

Vacaville school board to review facilities bond – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

The Vacaville school board will take some final steps Thursday to get a $194 million general obligation bond on the November ballot to pay for facilities needs.

Since October 2013, the district has been compiling a facilities needs list by involving a variety of stakeholders. The governing board is being asked to review the list Thursday.

In addition, the governing board is being asked to review a draft resolution calling for an election for the general obligation bond and the consolidation of this election within the Nov. 4 general election.

via Vacaville school board to review facilities bond Daily Republic.

Fairfield-Suisun trustees OK developer fee hike despite challenge – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

An increase in development fees to $4.99 a square foot – and a study justifying the boost – won unanimous approval Thursday by Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees after a developer’s representative and an attorney for builder A.G. Spanos Companies said the study is inadequate.

Fees are now $3.77 a square foot for residential building permits. The increase is effective Friday.

Bryan Wenter, representing Stockton-based Spanos, asked trustees to delay a decision and allow a more fair fee that complies with state law. He said problems include publishing notice of the fees on the Memorial Day holiday, which Wenter said violates state law.

via Fairfield-Suisun trustees OK developer fee hike despite challenge Daily Republic.

Trustees OK key funding document for school district – Benicia Herald

By Keri Luiz

The Board of Trustees of the Benicia Unified School District last week approved a document that went through several iterations and multiple stages of planning — par for the course for an important document like the Local Control Accountability Plan.

After months of input, workshops, planning, meetings and a public hearing, the LCAP was approved on a 4-0 vote with Trustee Andre Stewart absent at trustees’ final meeting of the 2013-14 school year.

The LCAP is part of the BUSD budget process and includes three sections: student outcomes, student and parent engagement, and conditions of learning. It is required to be in place for the district to receive state Local Control Funding Formula LCCF funding.

via Trustees OK key funding document for school district.

LCFF Funding Snapshot Available – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education)

SACRAMENTO—Local educational agencies can now see the highly anticipated first official calculations of $42 billion in school funding they will receive under the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today. The calculations for school districts and charter schools are displayed in the traditional funding exhibits, plus a new “LCFF Funding Snapshot.”

“California’s new funding formula puts more decisions about education funding where they belong—in the hands of schools, parents, and teachers—and dedicates more resources to students most in need,” Torlakson said. “The information we are providing today will help administrators, teachers, and parents as they work together to help all students succeed.”

The LCFF was enacted as part of the 2013 Budget Act and provides a new method of funding local educational agencies (LEAs). LEAs now receive base funding for all students and additional funding if they serve students who are learning English, in foster care, or are low income.

via LCFF Funding Snapshot Available – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education).

Education Secretary Lauds Revised Special Education Evaluation System – Education Week

By Christina Samuels

Evaluating states on the academic performance of students with disabilities—rather than focusing on how states comply with deadlines and paperwork—is an important shift away from “complacency,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a press call Tuesday.

The department is continuing its media rollout of a revised evaluation process that it calls results-driven accountability. The 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that states submit data to the Education Department about how students with disabilities are doing. But before this year’s annual report, states were only graded on what are called “compliance” indicators, such as whether students were evaluated for special education in the appropriate amount of time, or whether due process complaints were resolved in a timely fashion.

via Education Secretary Lauds Revised Special Education Evaluation System – On Special Education – Education Week.

House Republicans to Begin Work on Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act – Education Week

By Lauren Camera

Republicans on the House Education and the Workforce Committee plan to introduce a series of bills this week as part of their efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, a sweeping piece of federal legislation that includes the entire student loan system.

On a call with reporters Tuesday afternoon, Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., said the committee will mark up the bills quickly and that he expects floor votes on several of the proposals before the November elections.

The policies included in the forthcoming bills are outlined in an 11-page white paper the committee released Tuesday afternoon, and include some seriously heavy lifts, like consolidating all existing student loans into one loan, and all existing grants into one grant. The road map also proposes streamlining repayment plans into two options: a standard repayment plan, and some sort of income-contingent repayment plan, both of which paralyzed Congress for months last year in a partisan squabble over how to fix repayment plans once and for all.

via House Republicans to Begin Work on Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

What Should Matter in Future Federal Education-Grant Competitions? – Education Week

By Alyson Klein

Want to know what areas U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan & Company could be paying special attention to when they dole out increasingly scarce federal grant money? Look no further than this wonky list of 15 key areas, slated for publication in Tuesday’s Federal Register.

These draft “priorities” (fed-speak for areas of interest) sound really technical. But they matter, because they could help inform the development of future federal grant competitions. (There’s less and less money available for them these days, but the dollars are still highly coveted.)

And the priorities reflect changes in the Obama administration’s thinking over time. The U.S. Department of Education Department put out a similar list back in 2010—and you can get a glimpse of what’s no longer on top of the department’s hit parade from comparing the two documents. There have been also some telling tweaks to some priorities.

via What Should Matter in Future Federal Education-Grant Competitions? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.

Our Favorite Educational Apps – Education Next

By Education Next

This week Education Next published “Learning in the Digital Age: Better Apps are Coming,” an article by Marie Bjerede about the state of educational apps today — which kinds of apps are actually useful, which are fun, and what kinds of new and improved learning apps we should expect to see in the future. Marie is founder of e-Mergents, LLC, which advises schools, start-ups, and technology leaders on enabling and scaling teaching with technology.

We also published this week, on our blog, “Digital Learning via Puzzles, Games and Simulations,” also by Marie, about less structured kinds of digital learning for kids.

We’re taking this opportunity to put together a list of some favorite educational apps recommended by people who are tech experts, policy wonks, parents, or all three. Feel free to suggest apps in the comments section below.


via Our Favorite Educational Apps – Education Next : Education Next.

Fairfield-Suisun schools set hiring fair – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Applicants can talk about teaching, operations and substitute work with human resources officials, school site administrators and district managers at a recruitment and hiring fair scheduled July 14 at the Fairfield-Suisun School District central office building.

The school district at the event, which will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is interested in interviewing credentialed or intern-eligible applicants in special education, mathematics and English. Fairfield-Suisun also seeks to hire speech pathologists, school psychologists, nurses and para-educators.

via Fairfield-Suisun schools set hiring fair Daily Republic.

Vallejo Regional Education Center graduates dozens – Vallejo Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

The last adult graduate walked across the stage at the 2833 Tennessee St. courtyard Friday afternoon during the Vallejo Regional Education Center graduation ceremony.

About 80 graduated this year from the center, formerly known as Vallejo Adult School, and 33 of them chose to attend the ceremony, donning their blue caps and gowns.

The center has switched locations with Vallejo Charter School on Del Sur Street, just a few years after moving to the Tennessee campus, which formerly housed Springstowne Middle School.

During the commencement, three student speakers shared their life stories with the audience.

via Vallejo Regional Education Center graduates dozens – Vallejo Times Herald.

Education Roundup for Week Ending June 20, 2014 – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education)

The California Department of Education (CDE) today issued this week’s roundup of education-related announcements of public interest.

CDE Moves Forward with Implementing State’s Education Technology Plan

California is moving a step closer to implementing a plan to provide the 21st century education technology tools students need to prepare for college and careers, with the addition of Karen Holst, who will serve as an Education Technology Fellow.

Holst will work on recommendations made by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Education Technology Task Force in its report, Empowering Learning: California Education Technology Blueprint, 2014 – 2017 (PDF). The recommendations address improving teaching and learning with the help of technology, concentrating on learning, teaching, assessment, and infrastructure.

via Education Roundup for Week Ending June 20, 2014 – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education).

Credit union awards scholarships to 20 students – Daily Republic

By Barry Eberling

Travis Credit Union has awarded the Mary Keith Duff Memorial Scholarship to 20 regional high school students.

Each student got presented a $1,500 scholarship at a reception. They also received a scholarship certificate, a certificate of special congressional recognition, a California state Assembly certificate of recognition, a California state Senate certificate of recognition, a small gift and complimentary photos.

The Travis Credit Union board of directors established the scholarship program in 2004 and named it in honor of a longtime board member who died in December 2004. To date, Travis Credit Union has contributed $220,000 to the program and will continue to award $30,000 annually.

via Credit union awards scholarships to 20 students Daily Republic.

Wood teacher in running to represent San Francisco Giants – Daily Republic

By Susan Winlow

Mention the San Francisco Giants and Tracy Ruiz becomes pretty animated.

Her household is a Giants home, no doubt about it. That makes Ruiz’s journey all the sweeter.

She is one of three finalists in the Target Presents People All-Star Teacher contest who could wind up representing the San Francisco Giants at the All-Star game hosted by the Minnesota Twins in July. The contest, launched by Target, Major League Baseball and People magazine, chooses one representative of the teaching profession for each Major League Baseball team.

“I am very much a Giants fan,” she said.

via Wood teacher in running to represent San Francisco Giants Daily Republic.

Suisun Valley School preps garden with help from Genentech – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

School might be out but not all the work is done – at least not yet.

Volunteers gathered Tuesday at Suisun Valley School to clean up and prepare the school’s large garden for the upcoming school year. Employees from Genentech provided a labor boost to the project.

The project saw a fair amount of front-end work and planning before actual work could begin.

“I wrote a grant through Slow Food Solano to get a greenhouse for our garden, but it has become so much more,” said Jas Bains Wright, principal at the school.

via Suisun Valley School preps garden with help from Genentech Daily Republic.