By Richard Bammer
Fall — as days shorten, the air chills, ground fog lingers and summer becomes a memory with the advent of winter — is linked to melancholy in many cultures.
However, in India autumn is a season for the goddess of learning, but, in ancient Asian mysticism, autumn is associated with the color white, death and mourning.
Closer to home, in the American West, with its long history of Spanish-speaking peoples and the recent rise of Hispanics in U.S. cultural life, we often celebrate fall and harvest time with Halloween and the Day of the Dead.
via Day of the Dead celebrated at Buckingham – The Reporter.
By John Fensterwald
In the race that will determine who gets the biggest megaphone on education issues in California, the two candidates for state superintendent of public instruction are entangled in perhaps the highest profile and most contested race on the ballot. Tom Torlakson, the incumbent and a veteran legislator seeking his second term, and Marshall Tuck, who has managed charter and district schools in Los Angeles, agree on some key policies, like the Common Core State Standards, but disagree on some hot-button political issues, including whether teachers unions wield too much power.
Here’s a summary of where the two candidates stand on key issues based on separate interviews of each this month at EdSource’s office in Oakland and public statements they have made.
via School chief candidates diverge on key issues | EdSource.
By Susan Winlow
School board candidates got the chance Wednesday to give their thoughts on the importance of music in the Fairfield-Suisun School District before a small group gathered in the choir room at Fairfield High School.
Candidates for Trustee Area 4, Robert Lucky and Chris Wilson, attended, as did Jonathan Richardson, an unopposed candidate for Trustee Area 5. Incumbent David Isom, Trustee Area 7, did not attend due to a scheduling conflict.
Questions ranged from running the district without raising taxes, voting direction if district administration recommended additional cuts to music instead of a gradual revival, results-based budgeting, teacher raises and thoughts on reviving a full physical education program.
via School candidates discuss music, transparency, community involvement Daily Republic.
By John Glidden
Christmas came early to several of the candidates seeking election to the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education, as over $45,000 flowed into candidate coffers during the past two and a half months.
Challenger Brisbain Pucan continues to lead all candidates with $18,618 raised via monetary contributions, loans and nonmonetary contributions.
From Oct. 1-18, the Pucan campaign picked up $4,839, according to campaign financial documents submitted to the Solano County Registrar of Voters office.
via Vallejo school candidates have collected more than $45,000 in campaign contributions – The Reporter.
New America Media, News Report, Viji Sundaram, Posted:
Last week, 15 school districts across California began serving their students school lunches made from foods grown in California and prepared freshly just for them.
This means that the more than 190 million school meals served each year in those districts will from now on be made from scratch.
“We are going beyond the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act,” said Jennifer LeBarre, executive director of the Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) Nutrition Services. President Obama signed it into law by in 2010 and it was championed by his wife, Michelle Obama.
Actually, OUSD rolled out the “California Thursdays” school lunch program one year ago, and its success encouraged other school districts to emulate it. Aside from such large urban school districts as Los Angeles, Oakland, Riverside and San Diego, California Thursdays has also begun in rural school districts such as Alvord, Hemet and Coachella.
via 15 California School Districts Begin Serving Locally Grown Foods to Students – New America Media.
By Laurie Udesky
California officials have identified many schools that will have difficulty offering online statewide tests scheduled in the spring unless their Internet capacity is improved.
In response to surveys asking schools to identify their Internet connection problems during the Smarter Balanced field tests earlier this year, a group of technology experts winnowed down the initial list of schools eligible for Internet improvement upgrades from more than 600 to 304.
California lawmakers set aside $26.7 million in June to help school sites shore up their Internet connections so their students would be able to take the Smarter Balanced tests, which will measure their critical thinking and other skills aligned with the Common Core State Standards.
via Many schools lack Internet capacity for tests | EdSource.
By Susan Winlow
A group of Solano Community College students who happen to also be emancipated foster youth went the extra mile to help their peers with a leg up toward their futures by becoming involved in Senate Bill 1023.
The recent passage of SB 1023 gives additional support to California foster youth who are bound for community college by including them in the state-funded, eligibility-based Extended Opportunity Program and Services, or EOPS, which is a statewide community college program that provides financially and educationally disadvantaged students with support that includes counseling, financial assistance, referrals and assistance toward textbooks.
via Solano College students reach out to help peers Daily Republic.
By Amy Williams
Some recent studies show that an astonishing half of workplace bullying and 40 percent of school bullying will go unreported. Whether this is because of insensitivity toward the issue, a normalization of the practice in our culture, or simply an inability to identify it, something must be done to rectify the situation.
Bullying is becoming an epidemic in America, and social media has helped catapult it to an astronomical level where parents, educators, and those in a position to help simply don’t know what to do. According to a sobering report from the Center for Disease Control, one out of 12 teens have attempted suicide, and one in six high school students have seriously considered it.
via What Bullying Looks Like in the Digital Age and How to Prevent It | Edutopia.
By Julia Freeland
Last week the New America Foundation’s Chelsea Wilhelm wrote about a startling trend in state education technology planning: by and large, it’s not happening. As Wilhelm summarized, after combing through public records she found that:
[J]ust 19 states have planned past the year 2012. Of those, five states have plans that do not include student learning objectives or professional development objectives, which in our estimation here at New America makes them fairly bare-bones, limited updates. … The remaining 30 (including the District of Columbia) have no current state education technology plans publicly available at all—most have confirmed they are not continuing with state-wide education technology planning.
As disconcerting as these findings may be, they got me wondering if a technology plan is really the right level of planning to focus on in the first place. Historically, technology planning had to do with wiring schools and making basic hardware and budget decisions. Today, with the rise of K–12 blended learning, technology planning looks more and more like instructional and curriculum planning with technology playing a supporting role in new school and classroom design. States continuing to focus on technology planning—as it’s been
via Do States Really Need an Education Technology Plan? – Education Next : Education Next.
By Louis Freedberg and Laurie Udesky
Of the panoply of reforms now being implemented in California schools, the one affecting the state’s youngest public school students passed almost unnoticed this fall.
For the first time since the state enacted kindergarten legislation in 1891, California children have to be 5 years old by Sept. 1 to enroll in kindergarten.
The new cutoff date follows years of efforts in the state Legislature to move the date students were eligible for kindergarten to be in line with at least 20 other states with a Sept. 1 cutoff date. The others have earlier or later cutoff dates, or leave it up to local school districts to decide.
via State implements new kindergarten cutoff age | EdSource.
By John Glidden
The month of October has been quite fruitful for the Committee to Fix Our Schools – Yes on Measure E campaign, which took in more than half of its total donations from various groups located outside of Vallejo, according to financial documents submitted to the Solano County Registrar of Voters for the Oct. 1-18 reporting period.
Of the $29,500 raised by the campaign, documents show $20,600 coming from groups outside Vallejo.
Van Pelt Construction Services and Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, Inc. each contributed $5,000 to the campaign. Both companies helped craft the district’s Phase 1 Implementation Plan for the Facilities Master Plan.
via Measure E campaign raises $29,500 — much from outside of Vallejo – The Reporter.
By Richard Bammer
Trustee Michael Kitzes said that, under the proposition, limiting a maximum reserve to 6 percent may harm small districts, leaving them in financial straits.
For a small district, such as Dixon Unified in Solano County, 10 percent of the general fund, under normal circumstances, would be a prudent reserve, because “they couldnt take any kind of economic jolt,” he said.
If Proposition 2 passes, money would go into a new state reserve for K-12 schools and community colleges in some years when capital gains revenues are strong, according to wording in the California Voter Information Guide. It would also set, in some years, maximum reserves that school districts can keep at the local level in some years.
via Some Vacaville Unified School District leaders wary of rainy day fund measure, Prop. 2 – The Reporter.
By Richard Bammer
For several Vacaville-area high school seniors who attended Girls or Boys State in June, all recalled their experience as “life-changing” or a source of new self-knowledge, instilling confidence about their plans for college and their futures.
“It helped me learn a lot about myself, it helped me push my own boundaries,” said Vacaville High’s Jessica Papadopoulos, 17, who boasts a 4.6 GPA and still finds time to play varsity girls volleyball and pole vault for the Bulldogs.
She, along with Wood High’s Jeffrey Teel and Vanden High’s Sonja Thrasher, and 10 others were feted recently during a recognition ceremony at the Vacaville Veterans Memorial Building.
via Boys/Girls State students recall experience as ‘life-changing’ – The Reporter.
By John Glidden
Do you hear that ringing?
The Vallejo City Unified School District was recently named a recipient of a “Golden Bell” Award for the Full Service Community School Program implemented throughout the various district schools.
The award is given by the California School Boards Association, which represents elected officials who oversee public K-12 school districts.
“Im very excited,” said district Superintendent Ramona Bishop by phone Thursday afternoon.
Bishop said that the program is about creating a partnership between the community, parents and students.
According to the district website, the goal of the full service community schools “is to improve student academic achievement and well-being through the offering of comprehensive high-quality services.”
via Vallejo school district receives Golden Bell award – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Susan Winlow
A Fairfield-Suisun School District educator has been named a semifinalist for the 2015 California Teachers of the Year.
K.I. Jones Elementary School sixth-grade teacher Michelle Labelle-Fisch was named the 2014-15 Solano County Teacher of the Year in a ceremony in May. From there she moved on to represent the county in the state Teacher of the Year program hosted by the California Department of Education.
Since then, Labelle-Fisch has been chosen to take the helm at K.I. Jones as principal.
via Fairfield-Suisun teacher semifinalist in state educator competition Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
A candidate forum for the Fairfield-Suisun School District school board candidates will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Fairfield High School.
The public event is being sponsored by Music for our Children and PAN Arts and will feature discussion about the “importance of music education” in the district, according to a press release. Audience questions will follow statements from the candidates.
Candidates Robert Lucky, Chris Wilson and Jonathon Richardson will attend. The press release indicates incumbent David Isom will be unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict. Lucky and Wilson are competing for the new Trustee Area 4 seat. Richardson and Isom are unopposed in their respective trustee areas.
via School board candidates forum set next week Daily Republic.
By Susan Hiland
A rainy and gloomy day didn’t keep dedicated volunteers from coming out to spruce up the David A. Weir K-8 Preparatory Academy campus, Saturday.
Members of the Father’s House, of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, and volunteers from David A. Weir came out as part of the church’s “We Love Our City Week.”
“The Father’s House adopted our school last year,” Principal Martha Lacy said.
One of David A. Weir’s teachers, Steve Patton, is a member of the Father’s House church and saw a need within the school community that the church could meet.
via Rainy day doesn’t stop campus cleanup at David A. Weir Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
The Measure G project that sent the administration team and governing board of Solano Community College over to an auxiliary site on Campus Lane is winding to a close with a projected finish of next month for the administration building, otherwise known as Building 600.
“The goal is to get the board in there for the Nov. 19 meeting,” said Megan Valles, the project manager with DPR Construction.
The former building was gutted beginning about July 2013. The new internal dimensions will capitalize on natural light with numerous windows, sky lights and french doors with glass, giving the feeling of openness.
via New college administration building nears completion Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
Voters two years ago gave Solano Community College a chance to breath new life into some of its buildings that haven’t had a facelift or modernization in their 40-plus-year-old lives.
Not only will the Vallejo and Vacaville campuses expand, but the Fairfield main campus will shed its decades-old ambiance for “a different look, a different face,” said Jowel Laguerre, the college’s superintendent and president.
“It was built in the ’70s, it was time for a different look,” Laguerre said.
Measure Q, a $348 million general obligation bond, was approved by voters in November 2012. Since then the wheels have been turning, albeit behind the scenes with plans, committees, reports, Vallejo land acquisition for expansion, selling the bonds – much of the unseen groundwork. Solano County residents are about to see visible signs of what they voted for nearly two years ago.
via Solano College moves ahead with Measure Q projects Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
The Fairfield-Suisun School District governing board will once again discuss multiple board policy changes that include its suspension and expulsion policy when it meets Thursday.
Trustee Pat Shamansky said Wednesday that the policy language changes to the suspension and expulsion/due process section – Board Policy 5144.1 – mirror changes made by the California School Boards Association; but the changes also come on the heels of a report by Angie Avonlitis, director of student accountability and support, on expulsion and suspensions in the district in which she said the district was not always following the Education Code when it came to expulsions.
The August report focused on areas such as the legalities of suspensions and expulsions, legal updates and hearing notices. Avonlitis also reported district expulsion numbers, which show a marked decline from 2008-09 when 254 students were expelled to last year when only 72 were expelled.
via School board to make changes to expulsion, suspension policy Daily Republic.