California state leaders—including lawmakers and education, human services, law enforcement and judicial chiefs–gathered in Sacramento last Thursday to recognize Attendance Awareness Month and launch an interagency effort to combat chronic absence. A report released Friday underscored the extent of the problem in the nation’s largest state.
In Sacramento, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Secretary of Health and Human Services Diana S. Dooley, Assemblymember Shirley Weber, Superior Court Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie and Special Assistant Attorney General Jill E. Habig each committed to address chronic absenteeism in their own arena.
via California leaders, new report call for better tracking of chronic absence « Attendance Works Attendance Works.
By Susan Winlow
Behind the scenes steps are beginning to ramp up for multiple projects under the Measure Q banner at Solano Community College.
Measure Q, a $348 million general obligation bond, was approved by voters in 2012 and while building has not started, preparatory work such as the purchase of land to expand of the Vallejo campus is taking place.
The governing board will decide Wednesday whether or not to approve the start of eight projects as part of the Measure Q Bond Spending Plan.
via Solano College moves closer to tangible Measure Q construction Daily Republic.
By Miguel Hernandez
As school staff and families head back to school this fall, districts and communities are ramping up for the second year of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Like many parents around the state, I’m starting the new school year with both excitement about the potential of this historic reform and with hope that we learn from last year’s implementation and take the needed steps to ensure that the LCFF lives up to its promise of equity and shared decision making in our schools.
Last year provided a glimpse of what is possible when we engage parents, students and community members in new and powerful ways and dedicate resources to increasing opportunity and improving outcomes for students who’ve historically been underserved by our public education system. In my district of Santa Ana, where my two daughters attend school, an estimated 3,000 parents participated in one or more of the LCFF/LCAP listening sessions and 1,700 students weighed in on district priorities, according to the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). These numbers, which reflect the interest and excitement that PICO California saw in school districts across the state, speak to the keen desire of parents and students to contribute to the planning for their schools and districts.
via Keeping parents involved in shared decision making | EdSource.
By Ingfei Chen
The “marshmallow test” invented by Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel and colleagues in the 1960s is famously known as a measure of willpower. The experiment gave preschoolers the option of either eating one mini-marshmallow right away or waiting 15 minutes to get two mini-marshmallows. Decades later, those who were better at delaying gratification, and resisted immediately snarfing the treat, ended up with stronger SAT scores, higher educational achievement and greater self-esteem and capacity to cope with stress in adulthood.
Now other psychology researchers have come up with a test that challenges the willpower of schoolkids to resist the brain-candy of today’s digital distractions — the YouTube videos, Instagram and mobile gaming apps like Angry Birds. Some people are calling it a “digital marshmallow test,” although it’s tailored for an educational context and doesn’t involve any sweets or near-term rewards.
via Measuring Students’ Self-Control: A ‘Marshmallow Test’ for the Digital Age | MindShift.
By Alyson Klein
A majority of states—thirty-two in all—are interested in the U.S. Department of Educations new Preschool Development Grant program, which is aimed at helping states beef up and expand their early childhood offerings. States had until late last week to submit an “intent to apply” with the department.
The “intent to apply” notices aren’t a prerequisite for an application—which are officially due October 14—but they give the administration some sense of who is interested and who isn’t.
The upshot? States and districts may be somewhat weary of competitive grants, but the early childhood education money seems to be garnering a lot of interest.
Nine states—Hawaii, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Utah—plus, Puerto Rico, raised their hand for a slice of the $80 million in”development” grants, which are intended for states who are just getting started when it comes to early childhood. Overall, 15 states plus Puerto Rico are considered eligible for that category.
via Majority of States Raise Their Hands for New Preschool Grants – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Richard Bammer
When the Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, the United States’ population was 4 million and Philadelphia was the nation’s largest city, with 40,000 people.
Talk about changes: What many consider to be the greatest legal document ever written — at 4,440 words the shortest of any government — has been amended 27 times, the U.S. population today exceeds 315 million, and New York City is the country’s largest, with more than 8 million residents.
Those facts may or may not figure into the 2014 Constitution Essay Contest open to all Solano County students in grades 7 to 12, with a limit of 500 words and an Oct. 24 deadline.
via Constitution essay contest gets underway at Solano schools – The Reporter.
By Christina Samuels
Want to help improve the focus of a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder? Try some jumping jacks before class.
That’s the main finding of researchers from Michigan State University and the University of Vermont who examined 200 kindergarten, 1st and 2nd-graders, about half of whom were deemed to be at risk of developing ADHD. Students were randomly placed in two groups: one group participated in 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise before the school day, while the other group engaged in more sedentary activities.
Over the 12 weeks that the children were studied, those who were exercising before school saw benefits across a broader range of outcomes than children who were spending time doing low-key activities.
via Exercise Before School Can Ward Off ADHD Symptoms, Study Finds – On Special Education – Education Week.
By Susan Winlow
Area schools have announced their participation on a program that provides free and reduced-price meals for children served in the National School Lunch Program and/or the School Breakfast Program.
Household size and income criteria are used to determine eligibility for free, reduced-price or full-priced meal benefits. Children who receive CalFresh, California Work Opportunity, Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments, Food Distribution Program or American Indian reservation benefits are eligible for free meals regardless of household income.
via Schools offer information on lunch program Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow —
Sheila McCabe stressed flexibility as she presented an update on a five-part recommendation that involved multiple intertwined and moving parts Thursday to the Fairfield-Suisun School District governing board.
McCabe, executive director of Administrative Services and Community Engagement, reviewed the three-year program that evolved during an April board study session.
The recommendations – with the goal of implementation in the 2015-16 school year – included moving the main campus of Sem Yeto High School to prospective satellite campuses, moving the Fairfield-Suisun Public Safety Academy into the former Dover Middle School site and aligning the Matt Garcia Learning Center with the Bridge-to-Success alternative learning program.
via Maintenance issues at Dover site put skids on district plans Daily Republic.
School facility needs analysis, establishing school facility fees, an update on school facility configuration, and career technical education are on the agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
The district’s director of facilities, Kim Van Gundy, will lead the review of a resolution to approve a school facility needs analysis and establishing school facility fees. It was unclear from agenda documents if the seven-member governing board will vote on the resolution.
Sheila McCabe, the district’s director of secondary education, will update trustees on school facility configuration.
via Facility needs, fees on FSUSD agenda tonight – The Reporter.
By Richard Bammer
The Vaca Valley Tea Party will hold a public forum Wednesday for the nine candidates seeking four trustee seats on the Vacaville Unified governing board.
Organizers said the event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at Pietro’s No. 2, at 679 Merchant St., Vacaville. Pizza and salad will be served.
Each candidate, except Vanden High teacher Judi Ruggiero, who will be out of town, will have an opportunity for a short statement, three to five minutes. Answers to questions from the audience will be limited to one minute per candidate.
In a brief press release, Colleen Britton, president of the organization, said that candidates can expect to be called upon to “address the following areas of interest” to members of the group and the community.
via 2nd VUSD candidate forum set for Wednesday – The Reporter.
By Susan Winlow
Dozens of questions and concerns about school discipline and expulsions raised at an Aug. 28 board meeting by Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees will be answered Thursday by the director of student services during the regularly scheduled board meeting.
The previous presentation by Angie Avlonitis was part of a monthly report on the implementation status of the District Local Educational Agency Plan and compared expulsion rates in 2008-09 school year with a dramatic decrease in 2013-14. The report also showed that despite the lower expulsion rates overall, there was a percentage increase in expulsions among blacks and Hispanics, and a decrease among white non-Hispanic students.
via District continues discussion on disciplinary measures Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
The Fairfield-Suisun School District governing board will hear an update Thursday on five proposed district recommendations that have planning roots in the 2014-15 school year with rollout for some of the projects next year.
The five proposals center around the reopening of Amy Blanc Elementary School; expanding the Fairfield-Suisun Public Safety Academy and possibly moving it to the former Dover Middle School site; transitioning Sem Yeto High School’s main campus, which is currently at the Dover site, to satellite programs at Fairfield and Rodriguez high schools – Armijo High School currently has a Sem Yeto satellite; redefining the Matt Garcia Learning Center School to align it with another alternative learning program, Dover Bridge to Success; and reopening the former Mary Bird Community Day School site as an early childhood education center.
via Trustees to hear update on 5-part school sites, programs plan Daily Republic.
The four-member board likely will approve a two-year contract, through June 30, 2016, for Ken Forrest. His base salary will be $122,611.
Afterward, Forrest will lead a discussion on the district’s 2013-14 unaudited actual financial report, as required by state law. During that year the district projected a $40.1 million budget, with slightly more than $1 million in deficit spending.
In other matters, Chris Hulett, the district’s director of human resources, will present an update on staffing: teachers, school-support employees and administrative workers.
“We have seen a tremendous amount of turnover from last year, which has resulted in a large workload for the HR staff of the summer,” he wrote in the agenda document.
via CBO contract, audit report on tonight’s Travis Unified School District board agenda – The Reporter.
Can Robotics Improve Attendance?
We know that quality summer programs help students return to school with stronger skills for the new year. But can these programs spur better attendance?
A study of a robotics program for Baltimore middle school students suggests that the engagement and interest generated over the summer carries into the school year. The STEM program, developed by the Baltimore City Public Schools and supported by the U.S. Department of Education and local foundations, provided math and science instruction with an eye toward improving achievement and engagement. The hands-on program gave sixth- to eight-grade students a chance to build a robot. These robots then competed in a city-wide tournaments.
via Can Robotics Improve Attendance? « Attendance Works Attendance Works.
By Susan Winlow
Deshawn Miller has a dream.
So does Mari Bowie.
Both are local high school students who came Monday night to Mount Calvary’s Historically Black College and University Fair to set the path for those future goals.
Miller, 16, a junior at Vacaville High School, is looking at schools with strong track and field programs in the South and would like to go into nursing and sports medicine.
via College fair brings schools to students Daily Republic.
By John Glidden
Like an army, they descended upon Loma Vista Farm with pitchforks and carts.
Around 20 people showed up Saturday morning to clear a section of field at the farm, removing aging plants, harvesting various vegetables and preparing the farm for the fall planting season.
“We don’t know what crop will go into the field,” said Shelee Loughmiller, as she watched the assembled team clear the section of field. “But we are clearing a patch to plant for the fall.”
Volunteers on the day varied, coming from the Vallejo High School Leo Club to students from California Maritime Academy.
via Loma Vista Farm holds cleanup day – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Susan Hiland
The Solano County Office of Education has kicked off a countywide poster contest to help spread the word about the role that school attendance has on student achievement.
Students have the chance to create a poster with messages that focus on the importance of regular school attendance – and could win prizes for their efforts.
Chronic absenteeism is a red alert that students are headed for academic trouble, the county education office said in a press release announcing the poster contest. Research shows that chronically absent students are less likely to succeed academically and are more likely to be suspended and eventually dropout.
via Office of education opens school attendance poster contest Daily Republic.
Vacaville Reporter Posted:
September is Attendance Awareness Month and the Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) is once again providing school districts with the opportunity to spread the word about the critical role that school attendance has on student achievement.
In its efforts to raise awareness this year, SCOE is sponsoring a countywide poster contest. It is seeking entries for a peer to peer contest among students as a part of the overall effort to improve school attendance in Solano County. Students will be given the chance to create a poster with messages that will focus on the importance of regular school attendance and win prizes.
Chronic absenteeism is a red alert that students are headed for academic trouble, county officials noted. Research shows that chronically absent students are less likely to succeed academically and are more likely to be suspended and eventually dropout. Chronic absences in the early grades are the most troubling; poor attendance can start as early as pre kindergarten. Nationally, one out of every 10 kindergarten and first grade students are chronically absent.
via Solano County Office of Education hosts school attendance poster contest – The Reporter.
By Alyson Klein
Floundering schools that receive federal turnaround dollars under the controversial School Improvement Grant program would get some new options for using the money under draft guidance slated to be published in the federal register on Monday. But they might not be getting quite as much new flexibility as some folks in Congress had hoped.
At Congress’ insistence, the proposal would permit states to move beyond the Obama administration’s prescriptions for school improvement, by partnering with an organization that has a strong track record of fixing low-performing schools, or by cooking up their own turnaround options.
via Education Department Proposes Big Changes to School Improvement Grant Program – Politics K-12 – Education Week.