By Susan Winlow
School officials on Thursday will discuss current guidelines for class sizes in lower grades as the rules relate to a boost in state funding.
In order to receive the adjusted state funding, the new Local Control Funding Formula for school districts throughout California dictates a gradual drop in teacher-to-student ratios until the average class size from transitional kindergarten through third grade is 24 children.
The augmented funding is an additional 10.4 percent of the base funding for transitional kindergarten through third grade.
Districts can choose to opt out of the additional funding, provided they use collective bargaining to agree upon an alternative annual class enrollment site average. Charter schools do not have to comply with the law but still receive the Grade Span Adjustment funding.
via Vacaville school trustees to discuss staffing ratios Daily Republic.
The National School Boards Association will immediately terminate its work with the R.J. Reynolds Right Decisions, Right Now youth anti-smoking program, the organization announced Tuesday, just five days after it first announced the partnership with the tobacco company.
The associations decision came the same day Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., urged the NSBAs members “to see through this sham and reject the deal.” Blumenthal, who is outspoken about youth tobacco use, said the program urged kids to wait until they were adults to smoke, rather than discouraging the practice all together, The Hill reports.
via After Criticism, School Boards Association Ends Tobacco Company Partnership – Rules for Engagement – Education Week.
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced 113 school sites will share $1.49 million from a federal program to help them provide healthier food choices for California students. The 2014 National School Lunch Program Equipment Assistance Grant program is administered by the California Department of Education.
“These funds will help schools serve more nutritious food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to help keep students healthy so they can grow, learn, and succeed in the classroom,” said Torlakson.
School food authorities can use the funds to purchase kitchen and cafeteria equipment, such as ovens, refrigerators, freezers, and steamers. This will help school sites meet the new nutritional standards, which emphasize more fresh fruits and vegetables in school meals, improve food safety, and expand access to all students.
via Winners of Federal Nutrition Grant – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education).
We know that health issues–whether asthma, dental problems or depression–can contribute to school absenteeism. A new report issued today in Oregon discusses how the converse is true: Absenteeism contributes to lower educational success, which predicts a life time of bad health.
The Connection Between Missing School and Health by Upstream Public Health looks “upstream” at factors in communities, at home, and at schools that lead to chronic absenteeism.
The report reviews data and research on student absences – finding that unexpected factors such as unstable housing, fear of bullying, and punitive school discipline policies as well as health conditions such as hunger, dental pain, respiratory illness, and depression contribute to absenteeism.
via Chronic Absenteeism as a Public Health Issue « Attendance Works Attendance Works.
By Susan Winlow
Solano Community College staff is seeking approval Wednesday of an agreement between the college and California State Prison, Solano, for a long-distance learning program to help inmates earn higher education degrees.
The prison currently works with more than 30 colleges that offer inmates the chance to earn two-year associate degrees. The partnership with Solano College has been on the table for about three years. Several concerns kept the partnership from moving forward.
It’s been a long time coming, said Kenya Williams, superintendent of the correctional educational program, in a previous interview. Williams said she started working with the college about three years ago in an effort to allay concerns about how the program would work.
via Solano College eyes agreement with Vacaville prison Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
Several Measure Q items will pass before the trustees Wednesday at the Solano Community College governing board meeting.
Trustees will hear a first reading of a $6.4-million, four-year program and design management contract for Kitchell CEM to manage specific Measure Q projects. The contract includes several phases from start-up duties such as creating and implementing a program procedures manual to program and design management for the first set of projects agreed upon in the Facilities Master Plan.
The ball began rolling on this contract Aug. 21, 2013, with approval of the Measure Q recommended operating structure that included an in-house team to manage the bond and a consulting program manager for specific projects.
via Solano College trustees to consider Measure Q contracts Daily Republic.
By Richard Bammer
Elected five years ago to the Vacaville Unified board, Horace “Whit” Whitman has come to believe that “I can’t please everyone.”
Firm in his views that “I’ve done a good job,” the retired U.S. Air Force and commercial airline pilot wants voters to re-elect him for his willingness “to talk to people and get the facts” before making a decision.
“I try to get answers for people,” said Whitman, 71, a longtime public school advocate whose two adult children attended district schools, with a third a junior at Vacaville High. “I try to be open and transparent.”
via Vacaville Unified School District trustee hopes to be re-elected – The Reporter.
By Irma Widjojo
Candidates running for three seats on the Benicia Unified School District Governing Board answered questions on topics ranging from new Common Core standards to teacher tenure during a public forum Saturday.
The forum was organized by the League of Women Voters Benicia, Open Government Commission and American Association of University Women, which have taken no position on any of the issues or candidates in the upcoming November election.
About 20 people attended the forum, which will be rebroadcast on local public access channels.
Four candidates are running for three seats. Diane Ferrucci is the only challenger, and all three incumbents — Steve Messina, Peter Morgan and Rose Switzer — are seeking reelection.
via Benicia school board candidates talk Measure B, C – The Reporter.
Posted by Vacaville Reporter:
The Vacaville Unified School District like its counterparts across the state has faced some tough financial times with the economic downturn.
While the economy is turning around, school districts still need leaders who can make the kinds of decisions that will be needed to come out in a positive position in the years ahead. Strong leaders will also be needed as districts face myriad new programs and mandates from the state and national levels.
That’s why The Reporter Editorial Board is urging voters to stay the course and re-elect four incumbents who have shown their ability to not only lead through difficult financial times but to do so in an open manner.
When voters head to the polls on Nov. 4, they will be asked to select one candidate to fill a 2-year post on the Vacaville Unified School District Governing Board and three to fill open four-year posts.
via Editorial: Vacaville school board incumbents deserve another term – The Reporter.
By Susan Winlow
“Good morning to our future,” said Linda Brown in a voice that boomed through the Solano Community College Performing Arts Theater on Friday morning.
That voice not only caught the initial attention of 400 students but kept them all engaged as the outreach specialist for the California Student Aid Commission spoke and interacted with seniors from various Solano County high schools during the 2014 Cal Grant presentation put on by Travis Credit Union.
“We are talking about free money from the state of California,” she said, accentuating the word “free.” “Everybody in here can go to college.”
via Students learn college is a possible dream Daily Republic.
By Paul Farmer
It’s the bye week for the Kansas City Chiefs, but James-Michael Johnson still went to work on Friday.
The 2007 Rodriguez High graduate was principal for a day at his alma mater and found being an administrator “eye opening.”
Johnson, who’s been thrust into the starting lineup for the Chiefs at right inside linebacker because of injuries, arrived on campus at 7:30 a.m. and spent the next seven hours at the school.
By the end of the day he had an appreciation for the work done by Clarence Isadore, insisting that the real principal must wear “comfortable shoes” because his own feet were sore from all the walking he did.
“I talked to some classes, gave them some words of encouragement,” Johnson said. “They did a little rally at lunchtime. That was cool.”
via Chiefs’ Johnson spends day as principal at Rodriguez Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
A question arose at a Vacaville school board candidate forum about Buckingham Charter Magnet High School and its location in a commercial/industrial warehouse area on Bella Vista Road.
Does Buckingham, a dependent charter school that is part of the Vacaville School District, want to move to a traditional location? A place they can call their own?
Why yes, yes they do, said Jeff Erickson, principal of Buckingham. And it’s not a secret. They’ve made it known, he said. While they love their “paradise in a parking lot,” and have a good relationship with the district, they do not love having to use caution tape to section off a part of the parking lot for students to eat lunch, Erickson said.
via School’s ‘paradise in a parking lot’ topic of future debate Daily Republic.
By Irma Widjojo
The image of a skeleton in a long gown and a hat has been often associated with the spookiness of the Halloween season.
However, La Catrina, as shes known, has become the symbol of Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which is not a scary day.
“People see skulls and long black dresses, and they think its a spooky day,” Solano AIDS Coalition Director Mario Saucedo said. “But its actually a celebration of life. Its to celebrate all the lives of those who have died before us.”
The Solano AIDS Coalition is partnering with many other community organizations to bring the second annual Dia De Los Muertos festival to the city on Nov. 1.
via Vallejo students, community making Day of the Dead celebration happen – Vallejo Times Herald.
By John Glidden
The political action committee Fix Vallejo announced its endorsement of Vallejo City Unified School District Board challengers Ruscal Cayangyang, Brisbain Pucan and Burky Worel.
The group focused on the local experience and connections of Cayangyang, who graduated from Vallejo High School and majored in economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
“As a former (Napa Valley) college school board trustee and a former youth commissioner for the City of Vallejo, Mr. Cayangyang has the experience and qualifications to sit on the Vallejo School Board,” Fix Vallejo wrote in its press release announcing the endorsements.
via Fix Vallejo endorses Worel, Pucan and Cayangyang – Vallejo Times Herald.
By John Glidden
In 2012, Solano Community College promised Solano County voters that a district auto technology program would be built and expanded upon, if Measure Q — the $348 million bond — passed.
On Thursday afternoon, that promised was fulfilled.
Elected officials, district employees, auto tech program students and members of the general public were on hand at the grand opening of the auto tech program on the site of an old Ford dealership at Georgia Street and Solano Avenue in Vallejo.
“This is your dollars at work,” said SCC Superintendent/President Jowel Laguerre. “This is what you paid for.”
via Solano College hosts grand opening for auto tech program – Vallejo Times Herald.
By Richard Bammer
Incumbent Vacaville Unified trustee David McCallum wants to continue to usher the district through historic changes brought on by the Local Control Funding Formula, the Common Core State Standards, and the Local Control Accountability Plan.
“There’s a lot of unfinished work,” he said. “These are major shifts in the way we do business in education. I want to follow through on the planning and implementation.”
His No. 1 priority is working for the passage of Measure A, the $194 million school bond measure that is also on the November ballot. If approved by 55 percent of voters, it largely will fund school building and technology upgrades in the 12,000-student district.
via Vacaville Unified trustee David McCallum wants to continue ‘unfinished work’ – The Reporter.
By Richard Bammer
As a mother of three, Tracee Stacy seeks a seat on the Vacaville Unified governing board because of “a long-standing vested interest in the success and quality of education” available to the city’s families.
But she also wants, she said, “to be a part of navigating our district through the opportunities that the Local Control Funding Formula and the Common Core State Standards present.”
In order, her top priorities are bringing “tax dollars back to the classroom” and “classroom-centered decision-making,” the latter a platform stance she shares with two other candidates, school teachers Judi Ruggiero and Jeremy Jeffreys.
via Tracee Stacy cites ‘vested interest’ for Vacaville Unified trustee candidacy – The Reporter.
This guest post by Erik Peterson of the Afterschool Alliance was originally posted on the Afternoon Snack Blog.
A recent study conducted by researchers out of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and published in the journal Pediatrics concluded that elementary school students who exercised for about an hour a day in an afterschool program had better brain function and were more focused than students who did not engage in much physical activity.
Researchers conducting the nine-month study of 7- to 9-year-olds randomly assigned 221 students to either a structured afterschool program with a strong physical activity component, or assigned them to a wait list for the program. Children in both groups were tested before and after the study period on a series of cognitive and executive control tasks such as memory, multitasking, and ability to resist distractions while focusing on a specific task, in addition to physical fitness assessments.
via Afterschool program & activity boost school attendance, cogntive skills « Attendance Works Attendance Works.
By Susan Winlow
Deloris Roach leads the pack in campaign contributions and spending among of the nine candidates running for four seats on the Vacaville School District school board.
Seven Vacaville candidates filed campaign statements, which were due Monday.
Roach gathered a total of $11,601 in both nonmonetary and monetary contributions from a variety of contributors, such as Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada D-Davis, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 180, Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local 104 and the Vacaville Teachers Association.
via School board candidates run gamut with campaign statements Daily Republic.
By John Fensterwald
Gov. Jerry Brown won’t have key education groups helping him make the case to voters for a bigger and more restrictive state rainy day fund. The most he can count on is that they won’t actively campaign against it.
Organizations representing school district financial officers (California Association of School Business Officials) and school superintendents and principals (Association of California School Administrators) voted during the summer to officially oppose Brown’s Budget Stabilization Account, which will appear on next month’s ballot as Proposition 2. And at a meeting in late September, the board of the California School Boards Association voted not to take a position on the proposition. That decision was actually good news for the governor, since at a press conference in May, association President Josephine Lucey vowed to push her board to fight the proposal.
via Education groups withhold support of rainy day fund | EdSource.