By Jane Meredith Adams
Elementary school absenteeism remains “persistently high” in California, but more schools are tracking absences and working to address the root problems that keep students out of classrooms, California Attorney General Kamala Harris said Wednesday as she released new statewide attendance data.
Attendance reflects student health – physical, emotional and behavioral – and for several years, Harris has declared chronic absenteeism an urgent problem affecting student achievement, dropout rates and crime. On Wednesday, she revived her plea for a statewide attendance database that would help districts identify students, particularly those who move from one district to another, who are in need of intervention to resolve health issues, transportation problems and school suspensions that can cause chronic absenteeism.
via Chronic student absentee rate remains high, but tracking improves | EdSource.
By Ryan McCarthy
The tax tolerance of voters in a school district with twice as many Democratic voters as Republicans was among issues Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees were told about Monday in a study session that dealt with a possible school bond on the ballot.
March 11 is the deadline for a resolution for a June 2016 bond election, while an Aug. 12, 2016, deadline looms if the school district decides to put a bond before voters in the November 2016 election, Isom Advisors told trustees.
via Fairfield-Suisun School District eyes tax tolerance, district demographics.
By John Glidden
Days after the state released information showing many California students are not prepared for college, the Vallejo school board — during its Wednesday meeting — received information about district numbers.
Forty-four percent of California students met or exceeded the English language/literacy standard, while 33 percent met or exceeded the math standard, according to results from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) test results.
Students in the Vallejo City Unified School District fared even worse.
Only 25 percent of VCUSD students exceeded or met the English standard, while 17 percent met or exceeded the math achievement.
via Vallejo school board hears presentation about poor test scores.
By Glen Faison
The school board will review information Monday on a possible tax measure that could more than double what Fairfield and Suisun City-area residents are paying to support past school facilities projects.
Members of the Fairfield-Suisun School District governing board will discuss information about the potential bond, to include options and timing of such a bond, according to the staff report for the item.
The bond falls under a discussion about the district’s facilities master plan and facility project funding, to be presented by Kelly Bartel.
via School board to discuss possible facilities bond.
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday decided to start taking applications from the public and eventually appoint someone to fill a vacancy on the governing board. They also agreed to re-open the Sierra Vista site as a K-8 school, with classes beginning in August 2016.
The application process to fill the vacancy, created when Jeremy Jeffreys resigned his post, started Friday and ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 30. A committee of at least two trustees will review the applications later that day.
The six board members then may select a candidate, following public interviews, during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 1.
District staff members posted the application forms on the district website, www.vacavilleusd.org. The forms also are available at district offices, 401 Nut Tree Road, call 453-6100.
via VUSD leaders to appoint new trustee; Sierra Vista to re-open as K-8 school.
By Ryan McCarthy
Margan Holloway, director of child nutrition services for the Fairfield-Suisun School District, has been invited to attend the School Nutrition Association’s Fall Committee Days on Oct. 16-17 in Arlington, Virginia.
The conference is fully funded by the School Nutrition Association, the school district said.
The nutrition association is an organization of 55,000 members for school nutrition professionals who are committed to advancing the quality of school meal programs through education and advocacy, the Fairfield-Suisun School District said in a press release.
via Fairfield-Suisun nutrition director invited to Virginia conference.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Stephanie Richardson earned her degree in sociology from California State University, Sacramento.
Then she went to Solano Community College, took nursing courses and earned her associate degree.
The Vacaville resident, and a school nurse in the Vacaville School District, is now pursuing her master’s degree in nursing as a member of Touro University’s first School of Nursing. Richardson and about 30 other students started their studies in August 2014.
A second class has already entered the 18-month program. Richardson will have one of them shadow her Thursday.
via School nurse continues education through Touro.
By Ryan McCarthy
Dutch Bros. Fairfield will host a school supply fundraiser Monday to benefit Sheldon Elementary School.
For every three new school supplies donated, customers will receive one loyalty card with nine of the 10 stamps needed for a free drink, Dutch Bros. said.
The 10 items most needed by Sheldon Elementary are pencils, copy paper, lined paper, Expo markers, spiral notebooks, crayons, fine point washable markers, washable markers, tissue paper and folders.
via Biz Buzz: Dutch Bros. hosts school supply donations drive.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that local educational agencies (LEAs)—which include school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education—will continue to receive state funding despite a possible loss of student attendance because of the wildfires.
“My deepest sympathies for the families, fire fighters, communities, students, and school districts that have been affected by the wildfires,” said Torlakson. “In an emergency like this, I want to assure them that their schools will continue to receive state support, while we help find facilities where their children can continue their education.”
The California Department of Education is working with districts to find facilities for students displaced from their schools by the wildfires, including portable classrooms. Districts affected by the wildfires whose teachers educate students in portable or other temporary classrooms, even if physically located outside their own district boundaries, can continue to count these students in their Average Daily Attendance (ADA).
via Districts and Students Affected by Wildfires – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris this week delivered an impressive report on absenteeism that exposes the scope of the problem across the state but also demonstrates the progress that districts are making toward addressing this problem.
The report, In School On Track 2015, calculates that an estimated 230,000 California elementary students are chronically absent, missing 18 or more days in the 2014-15 school year. That’s 8 percent of elementary students.
via California Report Shows Scope of Absenteeism, Progress in Tracking Data – Attendance Works Attendance Works.
By Richard Freedman
Lincoln Elementary School principal Melanie Buck couldn’t help but get emotional.
Not only was she surprised by her students’ response to a plea for helping Valley fire victims, but by her own memories of spending a summer as a teenage lifeguard in scorched Middletown.
“I know people who lost their homes,” Buck said. “All these pictures of burned houses. It’s devastating.”
So Buck put the call to her 220 students and their parents. And, though many of Lincoln’s kids are low-income, 101 brought in toys and books.
“It’s overwhelming,” Buck said Thursday afternoon. “I have been in tears and have had goose bumps.”
Buck said her students’ generosity was more than she could imagine.
via Vallejo kids donate books, toys to fire victims.
By Bea Karnes
More than 23 percent of California elementary school students were truant in 2014-15, with at least three unexcused absences, while about 230,000 of them were chronically absent, missing more than 10 percent of the school year, according to a report released in Los Angeles by Attorney General Kamala Harris.
The persistent attendance problems continue to be financially costly for school districts, which lose funding when attendance drops.
“Elementary school truancy has sweeping implications for our state’s economy and public safety,” Harris said. “When our youngest students are missing more than 10 percent of the school year, we know that they often fall behind and never catch up. This report shows that we are making progress, but we must do more to keep our children in school.”
via Nearly a Quarter of Elementary Students in California Were Truant Last Year | Dixon, CA Patch.
By Glen Faison
An outdoors family style lobster feast returns to Fairfield later this month – and it’s not too late to get tickets to the event that supports an award-winning mobile after-school recreation and nutrition program.
The third annual Lobster Boil is a signature event for the Fairfield-Suisun Twilight Rotary Club. Proceeds benefit the city’s Fun on the Run program, which is funded through the Fairfield Community Services Foundation.
Fun on the Run delivers various recreational and healthy food offerings to children in low-income areas of the city.
via Some tickets available for lobster feast to benefit after-school program.
By Richard Bammer
A presentation about the recent standardized state test results, a facilities master planning services contract, and the athletics budget are up for discussion by the Dixon Unified trustees.
They meet at 7 p.m. tonight.
Of the state tests, Mike Walbridge, assistant superintendent of educational services, will tell the board that 69 percent of some 1,700 students tested, in grades three to eight and 11, failed to meet state standards in mathematics. And 67 percent failed to do so in English.
How educators are doing statewide since Sept. 9, when the results were released, he will break down the scores by school and subgroups, including ethnicities and income levels. (Dixon Unified is a Title 1 district, meaning most of the students are classified as poor or low-income under federal guidelines.)
via Test results, planning services contract, athletics budget on DUSD agenda.
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified leaders face a busy slate of agenda items, among them whether or not to appoint someone or hold a special election to fill a vacant trustee seat; approve or disapprove the re-opening of Sierra Vista as a K-8 school; and approve or disapprove a sizable contract for design and engineering services to modernize Willis Jepson Middle School.
The school board trustees will consider those items when they meet tonight.
Attorney Scot Yarnell — of the Sacramento law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo — will advise the six-member governing board on the legal requirements for filling a trustee vacancy in the wake of Jeremy Jeffreys’ resignation on Sept. 3.
Under state law, the board has 60 days from that date to either order a special election or to make a provisional appointment.
via Trustee vacancy, Sierra Vista re-opening on VUSD agenda tonight.
By Ryan McCarthy
A man described as a governance educator who is a consultant with the West Sacramento-based California School Boards Association said he will be paid $2,000 plus travel expenses for a two-day training session with Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.
The special meeting and study session starts at 1 p.m. Friday in the superintendent’s conference room, 2490 Hilborn Road in Fairfield.
Steve Lamb of the school board association described his work as helping Fairfield-Suisun trustees understand their role and do their jobs effectively.
David Isom, president of the Fairfield-Suisun board of trustees, said Wednesday that the governing board has two new members who do not have backgrounds in public service.
via $2,000 consultant for Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees training.
By Mayrene Bates
Parents, for the most part, will forever remain the most important role models that we will ever have.
Though my mother only went to school through the eighth grade and never visited my schools that I recall, she placed a great deal of emphasis on the responsibility for learning on the part of my siblings and me. She also provided us with a strong moral code, and we knew her stance on right and wrong.
Researchers remind us that some students will take advantage of every opportunity offered to learn, achieve and succeed, while others will view school as drudgery. I recently ran across an old International Education Achievement survey report that said, “The variations in test scores is due to the home background – not just the classroom experience.”
via Home, school key to student success.
By John Glidden
The Vallejo school board will have a full plate during its meeting on Wednesday, including being asked to authorize negotiations with a firm regarding bond polling services, approving another student resource officer, and receiving a presentation on the Public Records Act.
District staff is asking for authorization to negotiate a contract for polling and information services — with the firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates — regarding a possible school bond. The numbers generated from the polling would be used to judge whether the Vallejo community supports a bond, staff said.
During a July meeting, Vallejo City Unified School District board trustee Burky Worel claimed that when the board voted 2-1 in February — with two members absent from the meeting — to approve seeking bids from firms, it violated board policy.
via Vallejo school board to decide on bond polling services and additional SRO.
By Dianne de Guzman
On a Monday night, a large group of local students gathered in the library at Jesse Bethel High School to listen to staff members of the Willie B. Adkins Scholars program talk about the history and the requirements needed.
The scene is familiar to many of those working with the group as adults. Now in its 30th year, a number of those helping the new group of students prepare for high school graduation, college applications and test prep were former students of the program.
“I can say that definitely because it’s a very community-oriented program, it has had a full-circle effect for me,” said Stephanie Bowens, a current instructor with the program. “…I got a scholarship through this program, so it helped fund my college education and now I’m able to give back to students and help them find their way. Volunteering in this program (also) helped me reach my own career goals of working in education.”
via Scholars program still going strong in Vallejo.
By Ryan Chalk
A Vacaville native has taken her lifelong passion for music to help children with developmental disabilities transform their lives, one song at a time.
It’s happening inside a Davis Street home that once housed a longtime Vacaville photography business, now home to a bustling music education and performance studio called the Young Artists Conservatory of Music. A hub of activity, in one room, you might hear a student attempting to master Beethoven on piano, a budding saxophonist running a jazz scale, and in another, Brianna McCulloch, a board certified music therapist, leading a child in song.
via Vacaville native, music conservatory bring music therapy to children with disabilities.