By Richard Bammer
Stan Arterberry served 20 years of a 35-year career in higher education as CEO of several California community colleges, including eight at Solano Community College, and, retired in 2008 after six years as chancellor for West Valley-Mission Community College District in Saratoga.But in June, citing personal reasons during an interview Tuesday at SCC’s main Fairfield campus, he decided to come out of retirement to lead SCC one more time — temporarily, at least for the next five months — after replacing Jowel Laguerre, who resigned to become chancellor of the Peralta Community College District in Oakland.
“In my career, I’ve led four community colleges, and the ones I have the most affinity for are Riverside (City College) and Solano,” Arterberry, 67, said. “I feel a real connection to them, especially Solano. I have personal feelings for Solano and what it means to the citizens of Solano and wanted to help in any way I can.”
By all accounts, such statements are vintage Arterberry, the youngest son of an auto mechanic raised in Brawley, in the Imperial Valley, who more than a dozen years ago donated a kidney to a brother.
via Solano Community College’s interim leader came out of retirement to help.
By Jordan Shapiro
Today’s children are extremely savvy. They’ve grown up in a world where information was always just a button away. Buttons? Soon, they won’t even need buttons. With Windows 10, they’ll simply say, “hey Cortana.” She’s more like the world’s greatest librarian than a personal assistant. She delivers content on command. In the future, after children have mastered reading, writing, and arithmetic, will more formal schooling still be necessary?
via This Is What Todays Online Learning Content Tells Us About The Future Of School.
By Katrina Schwartz
There’s a part of the brain that enables us to perceive magnitude — we can compare loudness when hearing different tones or compare the number of dots in a group at a glance. Neuroscientists have identified this region responsible for perceptual comparison (the intraparietal sulcus) as linked to symbolic comparisons, including integers in math. That discovery led scientists to realize that symmetry plays a big role in how humans compare integers
Building on this background research, Stanford education researchers tested a teaching strategy explicitly focused on using symmetry to teach integers to fourth-graders. They wanted to see if recruiting the visual symmetry parts of the brain would improve students’ facility and understanding of the concept. Their findings, published in “Cognition and Instruction” in May, indicate that teaching with symmetry could have a big impact not just on students’ understanding of integers, but also on more advanced concepts that go well beyond the scope of instruction as well.
via How Teaching With Symmetry Improves Math Understanding | MindShift | KQED News.
By Susan Frey
Even as California is promoting higher quality standards for its after-school programs, state leaders have rejected a proposal to provide cost-of-living increases for the programs – despite a rising minimum wage, higher employee health care costs and newly mandated sick leave for staff that are putting the squeeze on providers.
Since 2006, when the After School Education and Safety Act was first implemented to provide guaranteed funding for after-school programs, California has invested $550 million each year in after-school programs, more than any other state. But the law limits funding to about $7.50 per pupil each day for a program that must stay open until 6 p.m. on school days and operate a minimum of 15 hours a week.
via Flat funding threatens push for quality after-school programs | EdSource.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that he has selected new directors to lead the California Department of Educations (CDE) Analysis, Measurement, and Accountability Reporting Division (AMARD) and its Charter Schools Division.
“Im grateful to be able to appoint two proven leaders to head divisions that each play a critical role in helping the California Department of Education carry out its goal of providing a world-class education to all of Californias 6.2 million students,” said Torlakson.
Cindy Kazanis, who has worked for CDE for 12 years, will direct the AMARD, which develops and analyzes statewide education data for state and federal accountability reports, DataQuest, School Accountability Report Cards, and the Local Control Funding Formula.
via New CDE Directors Named – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
By Sarah Tully
School districts must spell out how they will help the state’s 310,000 homeless students and make goals for their progress under a new law that may be the first of its kind nationwide.
Gov. Jerry Brown approved the change to California’s accountability system last month when he signed the catch-all “trailer bill” that enacts the state budget details into law, but also includes issues not addressed in other bills.
Homeless students now must be included specifically in school districts’ Local Control and Accountability Plans, or LCAPs, to show how their needs are being met. Districts then must track test scores and other measures of progress, which the state will also monitor.
One national advocate for homeless student issues said California is the first state she knows of where homeless students are designated in accountability systems.
via Homeless students get new attention in school accountability plans | EdSource.
By Richard Bammer
By late August or early September, parents of students in Solano County public schools likely will receive results from a new standardized test, county education officials have announced.
However, state officials caution parents and the public against comparing the results of the new assessment with the old STAR exam, and acknowledge that many schools and students will need more time to become accustomed to the state’s standards and new exam.
“The online exams in English language arts/literacy and mathematics are based on the state’s more challenging academic standards and are helping us transform education to better prepare California students for college and careers in the 21st century,” County Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck said in a written statement.
via Parents to receive results soon from state’s new standardized test.
By Richard Bammer
Water usage and how to conserve water are issues brought into high relief amid California’s fourth straight year of below-average rainfall, and, like any large state institution, public schools are significant users of water, drought or no drought.
Among some 1,000 school districts up and down the Golden State, several Vacaville-area ones are paying heed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2014 request for taxpayer-funded agencies to reduce water use by 20 percent.
As a result, landscaping and athletic fields that used to be watered four days per week during the drier months are now only being watered two or three times weekly, depending on the time of year. Thus, some grassy areas are going to be a littler browner than in years past, said Vacaville, Dixon and Fairfield-Suisun unified officials.
via Area school districts cut back on water usage.
By Kevin W. Green
Parents of students in Solano County schools will soon see the results of the new testing format, known as the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.
The new format was given to students from March to June of the 2014-15 school year in third through eighth grade and 11th grade, according to a Solano County Office of Education press release Friday.
This was the first administration of the new tests – replacing the paper-based, multiple-choice Standardized Testing and Reporting program, the release said.
via Parents to see results of new testing format for students.
By Sarah Hedgecock
When I was very young, my mom gave me a test to see how I would turn out in 20 years: she placed a marshmallow in front of me, saying that if I could wait 10 minutes, she’d give me two marshmallows. If I ate the treat before time was up, that would be the only marshmallow I’d get that day.
She was emulating a famous series of studies known as the Stanford marshmallow experiment (although the researchers in those studies also used other snacks), which used tests like this to learn about kids’ understanding of deferred gratification. Later studies found strong correlations between waiting for a second marshmallow as a preschooler and positive later outcomes like higher SAT scores. Since those initial experiments, scientists have continued to research how non-cognitive abilities in young kids impact how they do on measures traditionally associated with pure intelligence.
via Socially Competent Kindergarteners Have Better Outcomes Later In Life.
By Jace Harr
Back-to-school shopping is becoming increasingly expensive, and that appears to be the fault of technology.
The Back-to-School Consumer Pulse Poll by the Rubicon Project was conducted in mid-June of this year, and surveyed 1,000 parents of students in K-12 and college, writes Leila Meyer of Campus Technology. Parents were found to be spending more this year on school supplies than in the past and were starting their shopping earlier. They also found that they needed more advanced and expensive technology just to meet classroom requirements, meaning that many parents will be buying laptops and tablets for their students this summer.
56% of parents are planning on spending more money on school supplies this year than last year, and K-12 parents count on spending an average of $873 per student, while college parents anticipate spending $1,124 per student.
72% of parents plan to buy technology-related items. Only 61% plan to buy apparel and retail items, and 50% plan on buying traditional school supplies. More than half — 52% — of college parents plan to buy their student a laptop for the coming school year, and 46% plan on purchasing a tablet.
via Parents Spending More on Back to School, Starting Earlier.
By Susan Frey
Lawmakers have set aside $10 million in one-time funds to be used during the next three years to train teachers and administrators across the state on how to use more positive approaches to disciplining students.
The funding, which was part of a trailer bill to implement the budget, is for training educators to develop a Multi-Tiered System of Supports — from creating a positive school climate for all students to providing individualized counseling to troubled students. The funding is a response to recommendations from the Statewide Special Education Task Force report, said H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the California Department of Finance. The task force found that students in special education are disproportionately suspended and expelled, and recommended the multi-tiered approach to school discipline.
via Budget allocates $10 million for training in positive discipline | EdSource.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced a one-of-a-kind, free professional learning event for teachers at 33 locations across the state on July 31 and encouraged teachers to attend.
“Teachers are already driving innovation in the classroom and providing a bright future for California students,” Torlakson said. “This event gives teachers a chance to grow professionally by allowing them to share their ideas, ingenuity, passion, and best practices. It can help teachers make an even bigger difference in the lives of California students.”
The event, called Better Together: California Teachers Summit, allows teachers to learn from nationally recognized leaders and provides a forum where teachers can share innovative strategies in implementing California Standards in English language arts/literacy and math, which are commonly referred to as the Common Core. Over 10,000 teachers are already attending and hundreds are registering every day.
via One-Day Professional Learning Event – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
By Richard Bammer
Noting state mandates to reduce K-3 class sizes, Vacaville Unified leaders on Tuesday decided to direct district staffers to begin work to re-open Sierra Vista Elementary by fall 2016, as administrators recommended.
However, trustees did not specify the school’s grade configuration, either as a K-6, K-8 or 9-12 campus, pending trustee and stakeholder input in August, Interim Superintendent Jane Shamieh clarified in a Wednesday text message.
On a 5-1 vote, with trustee Nolan Sullivan dissenting and board president Whit Whitman absent, coming after more than 90 minutes of wide-ranging discussion at the Educational Services Center, the governing board gave Dan Banowetz, the director of facilities, the go-ahead to contract for Segment 1 construction at the Bel Air Drive campus.
via VUSD leaders vote to re-open Sierra Vista as K-8 school.
By Richard Bammer
A pair of construction contracts that call for trustee votes and two in the consent calendar not requiring a vote are part of a relatively light agenda that Vacaville Unified leaders will face when they meet tonight in Vacaville.
But the governing board, with president Whit Whitman joining via teleconference from Detroit Lakes, Minn., may face public comments stemming from Tuesday’s workshop 5-1 vote to re-open Sierra Vista Elementary in fall 2016, with the school’s grade configuration — K-6, K-8 or 9-12 — still open for discussion and stakeholder input, pending a final trustee vote in the coming weeks and months.
In more formal matters, trustees are expected to approve an $87,000 contract with Swank Construction to repair portable classrooms at Browns Valley and Alamo elementaries.
via VUSD trustees face light agenda tonight.
By Susan C. Schena
The Fairfield Police Activities League’s (PAL) Community Service Club invites local middle and high school students to visit their Teen’s-Only Food Pantry on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month between 4:30pm and 6:30pm.
The next food pantry will be open on Friday, July 24, 2015.
The pantry offers basic staples and occasionally fresh fruit and vegetables for students. Each student may fill a box or bag to take with them at no cost. Members of the TACTS club host cooking demonstrations to teach students how to make the most of items available in the pantry. Past demonstrations have featured how to make black bean burgers, herbed corn, cooking with powdered milk (pineapple whips!), and more.
via Middle and High School Student FOOD PANTRY at Fairfield PAL | Suisun City, CA Patch.
By Susan Hiland
Student’s listened intently to Willie Hancock explain the results of the algebra test they had just taken.
Some of the students had begged their parents to be a part of the free, five-week algebra preparation course offered through the California State University Summer Algebra Institute. Others were placed in the class by concerned parents.
Hancock is a retired teacher from Grange Middle School who is donating his time this summer to help students learn about math in new ways.
via Summer math program helps students hone skills.
Google Classroom is adding new tools for developers, administrators, and teachers, with a developer preview of its new API offered until the end of July that will allow administrators to:
… provision and populate classes on behalf of their teachers, set up tools to sync their Student Information Systems with Classroom, and get basic visibility into which classes are being taught in their domain.
Developers will be able to integrate their applications, following in the footsteps of New Visions CloudLab, Alma, and Pear Deck.
In August, all Apps for Education domains will be able to use the API unless the administrator has restricted access, writes Leila Meyer of Campus Technology.
via Google Classroom Expands Tools, Offers Preview of API.
By Katrina Schwartz
Shelley Paul and Jill Gough had heard that doodling while taking notes could help improve memory and concept retention, but as instructional coaches they were reluctant to bring the idea to teachers without trying it out themselves first.
To give it a fair shot, Paul tried sketching all her notes from a two-day conference. By the end, her drawings had improved and she was convinced the approach could work for kids, too.
“It causes you to listen at a different level,” said Jill Gough, director of teaching and learning at Trinity Schools. Doodling has long been seen as a sign that students aren’t paying attention. But it may be time to give doodling an image makeover.
via Making Learning Visible: Doodling Helps Memories Stick | MindShift | KQED News.
By John Fensterwald
The Legislature has granted county offices of education an extra month, until Sept. 15, to approve school districts’ annual budgets. The effect will be to ease some of the pressure on the counties to review districts’ local accountability plans, a new responsibility coinciding with the budget approval process, that many were hard-pressed to do effectively.
County education officials requested the additional time, which was tucked into the trailer bill, a catch-all bill accompanying the state budget, which lawmakers passed last month.
The state’s 58 county education offices are charged with approving both the districts’ annual budgets to ensure they’re financially sound and their Local Control and Accountability Plans, which lay out how districts will spend money and take other actions to meet school and student achievement goals required under the state’s new funding formula.
via County offices gain extra month to review LCAPs | EdSource.