By Richard Bammer
A bid to replace the gymnasium roof at Fairfield High, approval to charge more for school lunches, and a summary of a school effectiveness survey are on the agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet tonight.
Agenda documents did not specify the company to replace the gym roof or list the project’s estimated costs. The winning contract will be made public at the meeting.
Assistant superintendent Kelly Bartel will lead the discussion to recommend approval to boost lunch prices effective July 1.
She will tell the seven-member board that the costs for elementary lunches will rise from $2.50 to $2.60, and the cost for lunches at middle schools and high schools will increase from $2.75 to $3.
The price hikes will generate an estimated $144,000 annually, Bartel will tell trustees.
via School lunches, school effectiveness survey on FSUSD agenda.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Aspiring filmmakers will showcase their works at the annual Eye Light Student Film Festival, Thursday at the Brenden Theatres, 531 Davis St.
Students from as far away as Manteca will compete for scholarships.
All movies are rated PG-13. Some have implied violence, religious references, special effects makeup and moderate language, said a press release for the event. Students have produced entertainment films, documentaries, public service announcements and some simple animation.
via Student film festival returns to Vacaville Daily Republic.
By Ian Thompson
Solano Community College adaptive horticulture instructor Sandra Diehl described her program as a good way for those with disabilities to become successful in a horticulture career field with hands-on experience.
Diehl was showing off the program late Tuesday afternoon at an open house, which was attended by fewer than a dozen local educators who got a tour of the classes and gardens where the students learn how to grow and care for plants in a year-long program.
“They get a very grounded education that will land them a job in the industry,” Diehl said.
via Educators get look at college horticulture program Daily Republic.
By Bill Hicks
Education in general, and special education more specifically, is a difficult and often thankless task.
The Solano County Office of Education, the Solano County Office of Education Community Advisory Committee on Tuesday recognized educators, students and community members who are part of the lives of special education students to ensure it’s not always thankless.
Honorees came from all areas in Solano County. Some of those recognized had dedicated much of their lives to the service of special education students. Others, like bus driver Joe Mackenzie or student Damondre Pierre, for instant, made smaller but not less significant contributions to better the lives of the county’s special education students.
via Solano recognizes those who make special ed process easier Daily Republic.
by Keri Luiz
Pact tentative until school board approves; includes 9-percent salary raise
After many hours and more than 10 negotiation sessions, Benicia Teachers Association and Benicia Unified School District arrived at a tentative agreement last week, subject to final approval by BTA members and the school board.
The tentative agreement includes a 9-percent salary increase over two years. “Eight percent would be considered salary increase, and one percent to add two more days to the schedule for personal development,” Carleen Maselli, BTA president, said.
The new contract, retroactive to include the current school year and 2015-16, includes a $150-per-month health benefits increase.
via Teachers, district reach agreement on new contract.
By Ben Johnson
As an administrator, I think about the most enjoyable times I have had at school. Frankly, none of them include sitting in my office doing paperwork, disciplining, or attending meetings. The most enjoyable and productive times I have experienced are when I have been in the classroom observing teachers and interacting with students and teachers.
Conceptually, I believe that every administrator would agree with me that they need to be in the classroom to be the most effective with teachers and student learning, but in reality, it is easier said than done. The administrators office is the focal point of so many things: planning, scheduling, disciplining, reporting, and managing. All of this becomes a magnet drawing the administrator inexorably back to the office any time he or she strays any distance from it.
The ultimate question of every administrator worth his or her salt is that, given all of the demands on an administrators time, what can we do to escape the pull of the office spend a majority of our time in the classroom?
via Administrators: How to Get Out of the Office and Into Classrooms | Edutopia.
By Tracy Collins
Too often, students with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) get labeled as “problem students.” They often get shuffled into special education programs even if they show no signs of developmental disability. Though these students brains do work differently, studies prove that it doesnt preclude them from being highly intelligent. That means teachers should pay special attention to help students with ADHD discover their potential and deal with the challenges they face in their learning process.
As essay writing is both the most common and the most complicated assignment for students, writing instruction for students with ADHD requires special efforts. Each step of writing process may present certain difficulties for these young people. Here are some practical solutions for teachers to encourage, motivate, and focus their students on writing process.
via Writing Strategies for Students with ADHD | Edutopia.
By Alyson Klein
More than a year ago, Congress was able to stave off the worst of across-the-board cuts to education and pretty much every other federal program. But, next year, the cuts could kick back in full force, both for domestic and military programs. (More on the impact on K-12 programs from whats known as sequestration here.)
Members of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education spending didnt discuss the sequestration cuts in serious detail during a hearing Thursday featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. But the education secretary took a practice run at whats likely to become a full-throated effort to stop the cuts, saying they would hurt efforts to help disadvantaged children catch up to their peers.
via Arne Duncan Talks K-12 Cuts, Early Ed. at Senate Hearing – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Jane Meredith Adams
Every day in special education classrooms across the state, teachers and aides oversee students whose emotional and behavioral disabilities can trigger violent confrontations. In some cases, teachers and aides wrestle these students to the floor, pin them against classroom walls, and escort or drag them into seclusion rooms.
Operating outside the restrictions of general education, special education staff are authorized by the California Education Code to declare a “behavioral emergency.” That determination allows staff members to initiate emergency interventions that are defined only by what they may not be: electric shock, denying access to bathroom facilities, noxious sprays to the face, and interventions that can be expected to cause excessive emotional trauma.
via Inconsistent training leaves special education staff struggling | EdSource#.VTZ6dmctHGg#.VTZ6dmctHGg.
By Susan Winlow
The saga of what’s to become of the former Dover Middle School site, currently housing Sem Yeto High School, could come to an end soon if the Fairfield-Suisun school board agrees to turn the school into a kindergarten through eighth grade configuration in the 2016-17 school year.
A special facilities meeting at 5 p.m Tuesday will discuss this, and other facility matters, as Fairfield-Suisun School District staff members continue to move toward preparing goals, studying facility issues and working on a five-part recommendation concerning school facilities in an effort within the next nine months to develop a comprehensive 15-year facilities master plan.
The meeting is a follow-up from a March 19 board study session that also continued work from two April 2014 sessions.
via District continues to review facility needs, possible K–8 at Dover Daily Republic.
By Richard Bammer
Solano County’s best elementary speller, Gabriella Pasama of Vallejo, will have to wait until next year to contend for the state title.
The Dan Mini Elementary fifth-grader on Saturday morning stumbled on the word “cohorts” in the third round and was eliminated at the California Elementary Spelling Bee in Stockton.
“I was nervous,” said Gabriella during a cellphone interview. “I really didn’t know what words were coming at me.”She expressed disappointment at coming up short, but added, “I knew there’s another chance next year.”
Will she actually return, assuming she wins the Solano County Elementary Spelling Bee first?
via County’s top elementary speller comes up short at state bee.
By Richard Bammer
With his lessons centered on the rise of dictators, notably those in the modern era, it was inevitable that Buckingham Charter Magnet High School history teacher Dave Hawkins would devote some hours to Adolf Hitler.
After all, the Fuhrer (“leader” in German), who came to power as chancellor in 1933, envisioned a “Thousand Year Reich” ruled by a master “Aryan race.” The Austrian native’s dreams eventually engulfed much of the civilized world in war in the 1930s and ’40s and his “final solution” policy led to the systematic, mass murder of an estimated 6 million European Jews and millions of others in the Sho’ah, the Hebrew word for the Holocaust. It is remembered today worldwide, and especially and solemnly observed in Israel.
via At Buckingham Charter Magnet High School, Holocaust lessons taught with re-enactments.
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified’s classified, or school-support, employees have agreed to a tentative wage and benefit contract that gives them a 4 percent boost in pay for the 2014-15 year and another 4 percent during the following year.
George Glover, president of Local 1021 of the Service Employees International Union, and Randy Henry, the district’s chief human resource officer, made the announcement during the early part of Thursday’s governing board meeting in the Educational Services Center.
This year’s pay raise will be retroactive to July 1, and the union’s 460 members are expected to vote on the contract within the next two weeks, Glover told the seven-member board.
via VUSD classified employees settle on new contract proposal.
By Susan Hiland And Susan Winlow
The touring choir from Will C. Wood High School performed April 10 for guests at Melody Gardens at Epcot as part of the Disney Performing Arts Program.
Colby Hawkins directed the group.
This was the group’s first visit under the Disney program. While there, they also participated in three Disney workshops that taught them music, staging, costuming and props.This sounds like a wonderful experience.
via Wood students entertain guests at Epcot Daily Republic.
By Kevin W. Green
Solano County’s original environmental superhero, Bilgee, is back in school this spring.
Bilgee is visiting third-graders to talk about the water system and get their ideas on a new superhero who will help get children involved in protecting Solano County’s water quality, according to press release from the Solano Resource Conservation District.
Bilgee was created by the district, which is under contract with the county to provide the education component of its CalRecycle Competitive Used Oil Grant. The project includes an effort to install oil capture devices on storm drains in Fairfield and two education campaigns to get information about used oil management to Solano residents, the release said.
via Solano superhero back in school Daily Republic.
By Bill Hicks
Over the years, Vanden High School has built a strong reputation for being highly competitive on the athletic field. However, their best team might be one that most people have never heard of.
The Vanden robotics team, or Robovikes, will travel Tuesday to compete in the First Tech Challenge World Championships in St. Louis against hundreds of the best robotics teams from around the globe. Vanden has appeared in the event in previous years, but this year they have an opportunity to bring home their best placement ever – perhaps even the biggest prize possible. That thought has many on the team anticipating their pending trip.
via Vanden robotics team ready to compete in world championships Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
Motivational speaker Francisco Reveles will deliver success strategies from a Latino student perspective for ages 14 and older in an event slated from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Solano Community College.
“Learning from the Corazon” is a joint effort between the Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Solano College that highlights the difference between being truly successful in life and not merely surviving. Reveles will emphasize the importance of “El Por Que,”relating to student aspirations in school and life using culturally relevant humor and student participation.
via Speaking event set to motivate students Daily Republic.
By Irma Widjojo
Ten Benicia middle school students will soon pack their bags to face the best of the best at a nation-wide mathematics competition April 25 in Chicago.
Though they only have a week left before the trip, the group still needs to raise at least $4,100 to cover the lodging and transportation, and they are reaching out to the community.
“Without the support from the community and the school, these kids might not have been able to go,” said Lori With, head of the math department at Benicia Middle School.
Out of almost 45,000 fifth to 12th graders, from more than 330 schools in 42 states, the top 700 have been selected to compete at the finals, and 10 of them will come from Benicia. They have qualified for the finals because they tested in the top 1.6 percent in the nation in math, With said.
via Ten Benicia middle schoolers need fund to attend national math competition.
By Ian Thompson
All they needed were two craft sticks, three rubber bands, one cork and a bottle top.
Within minutes, the youngsters at Thursday’s Lawrence Hall of Science Inventor’s Lab were lobbing their cotton ball ammunition around the room in the Suisun City Library as part of the workshop on how to make a catapult.
“They are cool,” said 11-year-old Abaseen Babrakzai, while seeing how far his creation could fire.
Not far away, 9-year-old Frances Reinking decided she was not content with one catapult, and proceeded to make three more. She also planned to make them at home later, which Reinking promised “will be full of cotton balls.”
via Young inventors test catapult-making skills Daily Republic.
By Richard Bammer
In response to a new state law that seeks to reduce health risks from concussions, all Vacaville Unified School District athletes, including cheer and drill squad members, will undergo what’s called “baseline testing” this fall before participating in tryouts or any sport activity.
Randy Henry, the district’s chief human resource officer, members of the district’s Athletic Advisory Council and Kaiser physician Jeff Gaborko on Thursday collaborated and presented a report to the governing board, the Student-Athlete Concussion Protocols Update.
Using a computer-aided slide presentation, Henry noted that the update was the end result of 18 months of talks among several stakeholders about testing for sports-related concussions, or impaired functioning of the brain as a result of a violent blow or impact to the head. Members included high school principals, athletic directors and, besides Gaborko, Col. Henry Lau, a physician from the David Grant Medical Center on Travis Air Force Base, and Sutter Health officials.
via VUSD high school sports leaders begin concussion management program.