By Susan C. Schena
Damon Wright, principal at Benicia High School and a 10-year American Canyon resident, has been named principal of American Canyon High School starting July 15.
He will take over from Mark Brewer, who is stepping down to take a position at another district. Wright’s appointment was approved at Thursday’s meeting of the NVUSD Board of Education.
“Damon Wright is a seasoned professional who was recently named High School Principal of the Year for our region,” said Superintendent Patrick Sweeney. “He has deep roots in, and an affinity for, the American Canyon community.”
via Benicia High Principal Heading To American Canyon High School | Benicia, CA Patch.
By John Glidden
Richard Porter has left the Vallejo City Unified School District after one year with the organization.
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Porter — who taught at Franklin Middle School — said he is moving on from the school district to be the interim-executive director at the Global Center for Success.
The center works with various agencies to help homeless undeserved individuals in the community.
He will replace executive director Elvie DeLeon at the end of the month.
According to the district’s personnel actions, Porter is retiring from the district.
VCUSD Superintendent Ramona Bishop said during Wednesday’s school board meeting that Porter has accrued time as an educator, thus his ability to retire after one year with the district.
via Richard Porter moves on from Vallejo school district.
By John Glidden
The Vallejo school board was informed Wednesday night that four administrative positions have been created, while two other district positions will not be filled.
Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Ramona Bishop stated that Mel Jordan, assistant superintendent for administrative services, is retiring and his position will not be filled.
She added that Jordan has been in charge of operations and human resources. With his retirement, the position will be “(broken) down into two different units.”
Mitchell Romao will move from director of categorical and English language learners to the district’s chief operations officer. Bishop added that the Romao’s current director position will also not be filled.
Current director of certificated personnel, Gigi Patrick will move to chief human resources officer, while Elanor Bruton will become the assistant chief human resources officer.
Bruton currently serves as director of classified personnel.
via District expects to save over $100,000 with new administrative positions.
By John Glidden
A new charter school is headed to the city of Vallejo.
The Vallejo school board unanimously approved the Caliber Charter School petition Wednesday night, paving the way for the second independent charter school in the city, joining Mare Island Technology Academy.
Around 15 speakers — many of them parents of school-age children — addressed the board, speaking in favor of the petition, advocating the ability to have more school choices in the city.“I have to say, it was very impressive, to the point where you don’t only speak to the staff, you look at the children and see the passion and how focused they are, how engaged they are in their work,” said parent Margaret Champagne, after visiting Caliber’s first charter school, located in Richmond. “That clicked with me.”MIT Superintendent Matt Smith also advocated for the board to approve the petition.
via Vallejo school board approves new charter school.
By Richard Bammer
With deadlines just days away, Dixon Unified leaders faced a fairly busy agenda when they met Thursday night in Dixon .
The governing board, with trustee John Gabby absent, held public hearings on the 2015-16 Local Control Accountability Plan and the 2015-16 budget, signed off on a migrant education program contract, and also approved three-year pay and benefit pacts for two employee groups.
But the meeting began on a more somber note, with a remembrance of C.A. Jacobs Middle School math teacher Katie Anderson. She and two others died in a vehicle crash in the early hours of June 7 in Fairfield, an accident in which speed may have been a factor, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Superintendent Brian Dolan, who spoke at Anderson’s memorial service earlier this month, called her “a great contributor to the district,” adding that “she was becoming a leader” at the North Lincoln Street school.
via Dixon school leaders approve employee and migrant education contracts.
By Kristin DeCarr
School districts across the nation are beginning to implement more programs — and earlier — for gifted students before they become underachievers.
In order to help these schools better identify their gifted students, and therefore allow teachers to be better able to address their skills District Administration has outlined a number of suggestions.
- “A lack of federal funding and patchwork policies across states often leave decisions on identifying and serving gifted students to district administrators. An estimated 3 million to 5 million academically gifted students attend K12 schools, and it is unknown how many are receiving services, according to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC),” according to the District Administration.
Currently, 15 states have no gifted programs, and only 3 states ask their general education teachers to have training specifically for gifted students. As a result, many gifted students, especially minorities and English Language Learners, end up unchallenged in regular classrooms, writes Nicole Gorman for Education World.
via Schools Re-evaluating Gifted Programs, Early Intervention.
By Andrew Marcinek
Over the past few years, professional learning structures have shifted dramatically. This has been a shift not so much in content or strategies, but rather in overall design of professional learning.
At its core, professional learning is the key component to improving educator practice and providing new perspectives on an ever-changing profession. While most content has remained consistent throughout time, instructional design, educational policy, and classroom tools and structures have been in constant motion. But with all of the demands of the classroom and the limited time in a school calendar, how do we pack all of the resources, strategies, and exemplars into only a handful of professional learning days? The simple answer is that we dont.
via Professional Learning Opportunities and the Teachers They Create | Edutopia.
By Richard Freedman
Juneteenth is about freedom. And equal rights. And, in honoring the 150th anniversary of the end of slavery, the importance of reading is the theme at Saturday’s Vallejo Juneteenth Celebration at City Park.
Children 8 and under will be given a free book. Two Kindle readers will be won in a drawing during the book fair, with a mural painted at the park helping children focus on literacy, literature and the arts.
“The connection to Juneteenth is basically that slaves weren’t allowed to learn to read,” said Angela Jones, Juneteenth Central Committee president.
It’s reading, added Jones, “that is the foundation of empowerment and success, and that ties into the small business entrepreneurs who promote their businesses at the event.”
via Reading the theme at Vallejo Juneteenth Celebration at City Park.
By Keri Luiz
Last week Benicia Unified School District trustees approved Board Policy 5141.52, which addresses teen suicide.
But that approval came after Barbara Gervase and other community members addressed the board to voice their concerns, and to ask them to consider creating a teen center.
Gervase is the mother of Kyle Hyland, a Benicia High School student who took his own life last December.
“I was encouraged to learn that the program Sources of Strength may be brought to the high school this fall, but I am worried that there are no plans for a specific suicide prevention training for staff,” Gervase said.
Gervase also expressed concern over language usage in the suicide policy.
via School board OKs first step toward suicide policy; will look at budget, bond projects Thursday.
New America Media:
Calling it one of the “best” budgets the state has ever had, California Gov. Jerry Brown said the $167.6 billion dollar budget the legislature passed Tuesday would pump more money into child care and education, pay down the state’s debt by $1.9 billion and provide health care for its undocumented children.
“This is just one step and we need to do more,” Brown said during a press conference, referring to the $40 million budgetary allocation for providing health insurance to all California children regardless of their immigration status, through Medi-Cal – California’s name for Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income people.
A jubilant Lara noted that the budget deal “affirms our commitment to embrace and integrate our immigrant community, to lead where the federal government has failed and to acknowledge the hard work and sacrifice of a community that contributes billions of dollars” to the state’s economy.
via Undocumented Kids to Get Health Coverage in State Budget – New America Media.
By Ben Johnson
When I ask the students why they are so attached to their devices with the small (some arent so small) screens, I invariably get the response, “Its my life.”
I just dont get it and probably never will, but here is my attempt at understanding. After careful observation, I have determined that the cell phones are analogous to what happened when the Walkman first appeared on the scene for the older generation. A Walkman was a portable cassette player that sometimes came with a radio.
Students could conveniently take their music with them and also conveniently tune out any undesirable noise. Within this cocoon of music, students feel safe and protected. “I study better with my music” is a frequent response to “Please take the earbuds out.” It doesnt matter how much research you share about the brain not being able to focus on more than one thing at a time, as soon as you turn your back, the earbuds will be back in.
via How to Manage Cell Phones in the Classroom | Edutopia.
By John Fensterwald
Gov. Jerry Brown got the bottom line he wanted faster than expected.
Brown and legislative leaders announced a budget deal Tuesday, one day after state lawmakers approved spending $2 billion beyond what the governor said he’d accept. The final agreement will not alter the record education spending that Brown proposed through Proposition 98, the voter-approved formula that determines revenue for some preschool programs, K-12 schools and community colleges.
Lawmakers did obtain some concessions within the $115.4 billion spending plan Brown presented last month: 7,000 additional full-day preschool slots and 5,800 more childcare vouchers that parents can use to pay daycare providers; and 10,000 additional students at the California State University and 5,000 more students at the University of California, if UC meets conditions that Brown is requiring. Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, called this extra money for the “book ends” of students’ education critical to providing children “a fair shot” at success.
via Budget deal confirms record K-12 spending | EdSource#.VYGfg2fbLGg#.VYGfg2fbLGg.
By Richard Bammer
Facing deadlines, Dixon Unified leaders face a fairly busy agenda when they meet Thursday night in Dixon.
The five-member governing board will hold public hearings on the 2015-16 Local Control Accountability Plan and the 2015-16 budget, likely sign off on a Migrant Education Program contract, and also approve three-year pay-and-benefit pacts with two employee groups.
The district’s LCAP , as it’s called for short, is a key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula. At 142 pages, it is, essentially, the master plan that governs all district spending.
Comprised of several “priority areas,” from course access to parent involvement, it describes for the public how educators will meet annual goals for all students and “identified subgroups,” such as ethnic minorities and special needs students, and how their progress will be measured.
via LCAP and budget hearings, Migrant Ed, employee contracts on DUSD agenda.
By Kristin DeCarr
A new report from the American Institute for Research shows that a new teacher preparation program used by both Aspire Public Schools and the San Francisco Unified School District has been found to be better at retaining new teachers.
The report, “A Million New Teachers are Coming: Will they be Ready to Teach?” discovered that 82% of those teachers who went through the training program at Urban Teacher Residency United were still teaching 5 years after they were hired in their current roles. The program operates through a partnership with both San Francisco Unified and Aspire, a charter school organization that has 36 locations throughout California.
According to the report, the two main reasons that teachers who are trained through the program continue to teach include the highly selective requirements to enter the program, as well as the extensive amount of time spent student teaching, reports Nicole Gorman for Education World.
via Mentorship, Student Teaching Keys to Teacher Retention.
By Susan Frey
The Legislature on Monday passed a $117.5 billion budget for 2015-16 that includes $700 million more for schools and community colleges than Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed, as well as more funds for state universities, preschool and child care, after-school programs and foster youth.
Altogether, the budget allocates $69.1 billion for schools and community colleges. Following years of cuts during the recession, this budget would be the largest single-year increase that many districts have ever seen.
The budget relies on estimates from the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) that the state will receive more than the $115.3 billion that the Department of Finance has predicted. Brown has proposed a budget based on the lower estimate and has said that he wants to make no further long-term commitments because of the state’s history of boom-and-bust cycles.
via Legislators pass a bigger budget for schools and early ed | EdSource#.VYCZHGfbLGg#.VYCZHGfbLGg.
By Richard Bammer
Public school bells have stopped ringing in Solano County, the classrooms are silent, the playgrounds empty.
But longtime teacher Jerry Bernhardt of Vacaville, who just retired after 40 years in education in Solano County schools, public and private, will look back on his career with a deep satisfaction, believing that, somehow, he made a difference in the lives of some of his students, one in particular.
And he will also look back upon radical changes in technology in the classroom, he said.
“The personal computer, the Internet … it all just mushroomed,” said Bernhardt, noting that he also “went through 11 principals and five superintendents.”
Spending most of his adult life as a teacher “is beyond anything I could have imagined,” he wrote in a brief note to The Reporter after an interview. “I have truly been blessed to be a part of a wonderful and very supportive educational community.”
via Teacher retires after life devoted to teaching county students.
By Irma Widjojo
The bleachers at Corbus Field were packed Thursday night by hundreds of people who were celebrating their championship.
No, it wasn’t a football game — it was the graduation ceremony of the Vallejo High School seniors.
More than 320 students dressed in red and white cap and gowns received their diplomas Thursday at the ceremony signifying the end of their high school career.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” co-salutatorian Wing Chu said in her speech. “We saw the birth of the ninth grade academy, change of mascots, … We’ve been through a lot. But we’ve come out unscathed.”
Another salutatorian Izabela Tolentino reminded her classmates that the future is unpredictable.
“Although the pieces might not fit your picture, the pieces might fit another picture,” Tolentino said.
In the same spirit valedictorian Marah Uy also encouraged the other graduates to never give up.
via Vallejo High seniors embark on new journey.
By Richard Bammer
Presentations of Local Control Accountability Plans for several charter schools took up the lion’s share of the first 90 minutes of Thursday’s Vacaville Unified School District Governing Board meeting, and the news was largely upbeat.
Gathering in the Educational Services Center, the seven-member governing board heard LCAPs for ACE and Fairmont elementaries and Buckingham High, all dependent charter schools, meaning they are overseen by district administrators.
A key part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula, an LCAP is, essentially, the master plan that governs all district spending. Comprised of several “priority areas,” from course access to parental involvement, it describes for the public how educators will meet annual goals for all students and “identified subgroups,” such as ethnic minorities and special needs students, and how their progress will be measured.
via Charter school LCAPs dominate early part of Vacaville Unified School District board meeting.
By Richard Bammer
Travis Unified administrators decided to promote from within when they searched to fill two senior management positions.
In a press release issued Thursday, Superintendent Kate Wren Gavlak named Sue Brothers, the current director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, as the new assistant superintendent for educational services. She will replace Jim Bryan, who will retire in July after 14 years in the Fairfield district and 33 years in public education.
Brothers started her career as a preschool teacher and has 30 years of experience in K-12 education. She taught high school biology and chemistry, and has experience as a principal, curriculum director and assistant superintendent.
Additionally, Bill Sarty, the assistant principal of Vanden High School since 2013, has been promoted to principal of the Markeley Lane school. He replaces Sandi Reese, 53 and a resident of Dixon, who has accepted a job as principal of Pioneer High in Woodland.
via Travis Unified School District promotes from within to fill pair of senior management jobs.
As members of Dixon Unified School District’s Governing Board, we rotate the honor of being President – this year it’s my turn. As a board we’re been working on ways to increase and improve communication and I thought I’d use the presidential platform to showcase some recent DUSD highlights and achievements.
If you have or have been around school-aged children in Dixon, you know that Dixon is second to none in its recognition of excellence and in its creativity when it comes to the end of the year activities. Board members attended many year-end events and this year I was fortunate enough to help honor 40 DHS Distinguished Scholars (students who earned a 4.0 or higher each year of high school) and their Esteemed Educators, cheer for our hardworking teachers and classified staff as they celebrated milestones and retirements, watch gladiator bouts and catapult launches at the Anderson Elementary Roman Days, listen to the speeches of the promoting sixth graders at Gretchen Higgins, individually congratulate the members of the Maine Prairie class of 2015 and hand out diplomas at the Dixon High School graduation ceremony. The school and community pride at each of these events was palpable.
via Dixon Unified School District Receives a New President | Dixon, CA Patch.