By John Glidden
Almost a full year after an elected school board member refused to be seated, the Vallejo school board — during its Wednesday meeting — is set to update district policy regarding filling a vacancy on the board.
After the 2014 Vallejo City Unified School District board election, local resident Richard Porter found himself in second place, and elected to the board.
Porter decided to keep his teaching position with the district and refused to be seated to the board. Due to state law, Porter couldn’t serve on the board and teach in the district at the same time.
Meanwhile, the district board found itself in a unique position on how to fill Porter’s seat, as established board policy only allowed the trustees to make a provisional appointment or call for a special election to fill the vacancy.
via Vallejo school board set to decide board vacancy issue.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
There’s a first time for everything and many Fairfield-Suisun School District eighth-graders had a series of firsts at Tuesday’s Inspire Dreams 2015.
The career fair was a joint venture between the school district, the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce and hosting venue, The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center. It offered hands-on activities that included reading from a teleprompter, taking apart a school bus dash housing unit and the chance to install laminate flooring, to name a few.
Teiano Hardee and Joshua Laws gave each other back massages while watching Justin Hall, of Blake Austin College, demonstrate the technique.
via Students get hands-on career exploration.
By Christina Samuels
Loosening the reins on state and district special education spending could lead to more innovation without damaging student services, says a report released Monday from a congressional watchdog agency.
The Government Accountability Office was asked to look into special education spending—specifically the provisions around “maintenance of effort.”
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires, with few exceptions, that school districts and states spend the same amount or more on special education from year to year. That eliminates wild swings in funding, and insures that spending can only go up, not down.
via Special Education Spending Flexibility Focus of GAO Report – On Special Education – Education Week.
By Theresa Harrington
A U.S. Department of Education report shows that California’s high school graduation ranking dropped from 30th in 2012-13 to 33rd in 2013-14, even though its graduation rate increased slightly.
The preliminary data released Monday shows that states have continued to increase high school graduation rates and to narrow the graduation rate gap for low-income students, students of color and English learners. But Minnesota, Alabama and Delaware surpassed California in state rankings by making more significant gains.
California’s graduation rate rose from 80.4 percent in 2012-13 to 81 percent the following year. Black students graduated at a slightly lower rate in 2013-14, dropping from 68.1 percent to 68 percent. The graduation rate for Hispanic and Latino students, however, grew by 1.3 percentage points during that time, from 75.7 percent to 77 percent, while the rate for whites improved 0.3 percentage points, growing from 87.7 to 88 percent.
via California’s 2013-14 grad rate increased from year before | EdSource.
By John Glidden
Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis and Vallejo City Councilmember Rozzana Verder-Aliga will represent the council on a 10 person City-Schools Taskforce to discuss community issues impacting schools, and school issues impacting the community.
The appointments were made during a recent council meeting, with a bit of parliamentary procedure thrown into the mix for good measure.
Davis made a motion to appoint himself and Verder-Aliga to the taskforce, with fellow Councilmember Robert McConnell making a substitute motion, calling for each council member to nominate two members each.
via . Davis, Verder-Aliga appointed to Vallejo city-school taskforce
By Kristin DeCarr
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that certain state laws have aided in the reduction of bullying and cyber-bullying among teenagers.
A 2013 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saw around 20% of high school students report being the victim of bullying while on school grounds within the last 12 months. In a separate question, 15% of those surveyed said they had been cyberbullied within the past year.
Over the past 10 years, many states have implemented prevention policies as a result of an increase in public awareness concerning the health effects of childhood bullying, including anxiety, depression, feelings of isolation, substance abuse, and suicide attempts, reports Ashley Welch for CBS News.
via Study Suggests That Anti-Bullying Legislation Pays Off.
By Noah Bookman
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults develop the ability to manage their emotions, achieve goals, show empathy, build relationships and make responsible decisions. Many educators, researchers and education policy makers have come to believe that positive social and emotional skills are critical to student success.
At CORE Districts, we agree, and are the first in the nation to include the measurement of social and emotional factors in a system of school improvement and accountability – our new School Quality Improvement Index. We have done so because we believe they offer schools and educators more and better information that furthers understanding of students and what they need to learn and succeed. This information can be used to inform and shape strategies to help students succeed in school and prepare them for success in college, careers and life.
via Incorporating social-emotional learning into school accountability | EdSource.
By Jessica Rogness
A retired Vacaville Deputy Fire Chief who has worked and raised his family in Vacaville for three decades is the newest addition to the Vacaville Unified School District Board of Trustees.
After a lengthy interview process during the board’s Thursday night meeting in the Educational Services Center, John Jansen was selected as the seventh trustee by the board. Besides earning the support from the board, Jansen was endorsed by the Vacaville Teachers’ Association (VTA) prior to Thursday’s meeting.
During his statement to the board on Thursday, Jansen said he has been volunteering since the beginning of his first son’s education at Cooper Elementary School.
via Retired deputy fire chief takes seat on Vacaville Unified school board.
By Katherine Ellison
It seems an unlikely battlefront for a revolution – this two-story wooden house off a quiet side street in a small coastal town bordering Silicon Valley.
Yet this is the headquarters of the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, or ISKME, whose wonkish name belies its upstart challenge to the multibillion-dollar textbook industry.
The 12-year-old nonprofit is a leading champion of the “Open Educational Resources” movement – a growing campaign, strongly rooted in California, to make educational materials available online and free of cost. The movement has gained increasing clout in U.S. classrooms as teachers and school districts seek up-to-date materials to meet new demands stemming from the Common Core State Standards. In one sign of its growing importance, the U.S. Department of Education last month hired its first in-house adviser to help school districts use such resources more effectively.
via Free online content helps teachers meet Common Core demands | EdSource.
By Jessica Rogness
The Vacaville Unified School District’s seventh and newest trustee was selected at Thursday night’s meeting.
Retired Vacaville Fire Department Deputy Chief John Jansen was selected.
Last week, the Vacaville Teachers Association, after interviewing nine of the 11 applicants, endorsed Jansen.
He also is a small-business owner and adjunct instructor at Solano Community College.
Open session began at 6 p.m., not the customary 7 p.m. time, in the Educational Services Center, 401 Nut Tree Road, to accommodate this appointment process.
via New school board trustee selected, seated during Vacaville Unified meeting.
By John Glidden
For the seventh year in a row, Vallejo’s teachers will distribute free supplies and books to local students.
Teachers will give away notebooks, coloring pencils, free bags of pens, pencils, erasers, bookmarks, and crayons during the annual Helping Hands Schools Supply Outreach, hosted by the Vallejo Education Association.
The association is the union representing Vallejo City Unified School District teachers.
“As educators, we understand and appreciate that investing in our students and schools means investing in our community’s future,” said Sheila Gradwohl, president of the Vallejo Education Association, in a press release. “We are proud of this tradition that’s about giving back and providing extra help by giving school supplies to help our kids succeed in our classrooms.”
via Vallejo teachers to distribute supplies, books next week.
Vanden High School will be hosting a seasonal job fair hiring event for Vanden and Travis Education Center (TEC) students from 4-7 p.m. on Monday in the Vanden High School Little Theater.
This is the second year of this event and the following companies will be there to conduct group interviews:
• Old Navy (Vacaville Nut Tree) — Seasonal Brand Associate in Vacaville (online application.)
• Old Navy (Solano Mall) — Seasonal Brand Associate in Fairfield (online application.)
• Levi’s (Vacaville Outlets) — online application (Log in from home. The site is blocked from Travis Unified School District computers)
• Nike (Vacaville Outlets) — Nike Part-time “Under Athlete” (online application.)
via .Job Fair for Vanden students on Monday – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
Ben Ernest, president of the 170-member DTA, will present the union’s proposal to the five-member governing board.
In the first paragraph of his written statement, Ernest, the union’s former chief negotiator, noted that “salary issues are not nearly as urgent as they were at this time last year,” but they remain a concern.
He will remind the board that it is important to offer fair salaries that are competitive with surrounding similar districts. Any salary talks, which he expects to get underway in the spring, should also include school psychologists, counselors, speech therapists and occupational therapists, he said in his prepared statement, the text of which was included in the agenda document.
via Initial teacher contract proposal on DUSD agenda tonight.
By Richard Bammer
Two major appointments will dominate tonight’s meeting of Vacaville Unified trustees.
The six-member governing board, with trustee Nolan Sullivan joining by telephone hook-up, will appoint the district’s seventh and newest trustee and likely appoint Interim Superintendent Jane Shamieh as the district’s new superintendent.
To allow for the time expected for the appointment process, open session will begin at 6, not the customary 7 p.m. time, in the Educational Services Center, 401 Nut Tree Road.
At their Oct. 1 meeting, trustees settled on a format to govern the appointment process for the 11 applicants seeking the seat vacated Sept. 3 by Jeremy Jeffreys, who moved to Colfax after taking a teaching job at Rocklin High in Placer County.
via Pair of major appointments on VUSD agenda tonight.
By Mayrene Bates
Reading has been called the gateway skill for learning. When a student is underachieving, the underlying cause is usually that the child cannot read.
It’s clear that not even the impact of TV, the computer, video games, etc. has changed the need for a child to know how to read.
As always, it was great news when I received the call from Theresa Huzel, (super!) fifth-grade teacher at Nelda Mundy Elementary School, to come talk to this year’s class. This is my third year to go there, and it’s always a very special day.
via Mundy 5th-graders on reading, learning, life.
By Fermin Leal
As parents across the state open the envelopes containing their children’s scores on the new Smarter Balanced assessments administered last spring, only a third of them will see that their children met or exceeded the math standard on the new Common Core-aligned tests.
In fact, only one-third of California students in grades 3-8 and grade 11 met the math standard – compared to 44 percent of students who met the standard in English language arts. That is also significantly lower than the percentage who scored at a proficient level in math on the old California Standards tests.
via Educators try to come to terms with low math scores on Smarter Balanced tests | EdSource.
By John Glidden
City staff is recommending the Vallejo City Council approve participating in a City-Schools Taskforce to discuss community issues which impact schools, and school issues which impact the community.
The 10 person task force would be comprised of two Vallejo City Unified School District Board trustees, two council members, two student members and two parent members appointed by the school board and two community members appointed by the council.
“It is anticipated that the taskforce would serve as a venue for discussing problems and issues which cross jurisdictional boundaries of both the city and VCUSD,” according to a city report.
via Times Herald
By Irma Widjojo
The Benicia school board is set to receive an update Thursday on the improvements planned for Benicia High School’s track and field.
The upgrade is funded through Measure S, the $49.6 million general obligation bond, passed by voters in June 2014.
Though the board will not be making any decisions Thursday, one of the things the trustees would have to make a decision on in the future is the use of synthetic turf or natural grass at the field.
The initial cost for synthetic turf is higher than natural grass, though its grooming and annual maintenance costs are much lower.
Another improvement at the field would be the addition of newer bleachers and seats. The plan proposes adding 1,100 more home seating and 250 seats for visitors.
via Presentation set for Benicia High School’s field improvement plan.
By Reporter Staff
Last week Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed into law legislation by Senator Lois Wolk, D-Davis, to help schools take a lead role in managing chronic childhood diseases and hire more school nurses.
“One of the leading causes of absenteeism in our schools is chronic illness,” Wolk said. “Increasing the number of nurses in our schools will positively affect attendance, graduation rates, and academic performance, particularly in California’s most needy school districts.”
Senate Bill 276, signed last Thursday, allows school districts, County Offices of Educations, and other Local Education Agency Medi-Cal providers (LEAs) to receive reimbursement for services provided to all Medi-Cal eligible students. LEAs currently cannot bill Medi-Cal for health services provided to special education students if those services are also provided to regular education students.
via Governor signs bill to help schools hire more school nurses.
By Viji Sundaram
In May 2016, California will become the fifth state to allow undocumented children from low-income families to enroll in comprehensive health care.
Gov. Brown signed legislation Friday that will allow 170,000 undocumented children to smoothly transition from restricted scope Emergency Medi-Cal (the state’s name for Medicaid) to full-scope coverage, by removing barriers to re-applying or re-enrolling. It will also let children with severe and chronic illnesses stay in specialty care.
Once undocumented children enroll in comprehensive Medi-Cal, they will be able to take advantage of preventive services and not have to wait until a medical emergency to seek care.
via California Governor Signs Health for All Kids Bill – New America Media.