By Sharon Noguchi
California students are less fit than they were in 2014, although they’re marginally in better shape than five years ago, according to tests released by the state Department of Education.
Statewide, the percentage of students who met all six of the state’s fitness goals declined half a percentage point or less. Yet, only 26.4 percent of fifth-graders, 32.5 percent of seventh-graders and 37.6 percent of ninth-graders, the only grades tested, were declared fit.
In local counties, students generally performed better than their statewide peers, except for ninth-graders in Alameda County.
Results varied widely by school and district, correlating somewhat — but not always — with socioeconomic status. In the Los Gatos School District, for instance, more than 61 percent of fifth- and seventh-graders tested as fit, while in Oakland Unified just 21 percent of both grades did.
via Only one in three seventh-graders pass fitness test.
By Richard Bammer
Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy leaders mulled over a relatively light agenda Tuesday, approving one action item, a plan to spend money for an educator effectiveness plan.
Meeting in the library/media center room at the Elm Street campus, four of seven directors present unanimously voted to accept $26,837 from the state, a cash outlay made possible this year by Assembly Bill 104 and Senate Bill 103, the latter law part of the Education Trailer Bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 23.
To some degree, the laws are an effort to encourage and retain teachers during California’s ongoing shortage of educators, which began after the Great Recession and took a toll on teacher ranks, with widespread layoffs, program and pay cuts, all of the related developments leading to increased class sizes. (Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula and an improving state economy have somewhat reversed the worst of the recession, as it affected the state Department of Education.)
via Kairos leaders OK ‘teacher effectiveness’ plan, hear technology update.
By Richard Bammer
Will Sierra Vista, a soon-to-be K-8 campus on Bel Air Drive in Vacaville, be renamed after the late Ernest Kimme, the widely respected educator, civic leader and Reporter columnist?
Maybe yes. Maybe no.
However, no decision will be made until a citizens advisory committee is appointed, likely during the first weeks or months of 2016, to consider whether or not Sierra Vista, built in 1979, should be renamed at all.
Vacaville Unified leaders on Thursday, after discussion and some public comments — including some from Kimme’s wife — directed Superintendent Jane Shamieh to give the seven-member governing board several options about the make-up of the committee. She will present the choices at the next trustee meeting, Dec. 10, in the Educational Services Center.
via VUSD supe to give trustees options for renaming Sierra Vista.
By Kevin W. Green
Celia Esposito-Noy has been selected as the next superintendent-president of Solano Community College.
The SCC Governing Board in a special meeting Monday voted 6-0, with Trustee Denis Honeychurch absent, to offer the appointment and negotiate terms of a contract with Esposito-Noy, who is currently vice chancellor at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District.
via SCC Board selects Esposito-Noy for superintendent post.
By Andrew Ujifusa
The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that it has approved nine more states plans to ensure that all students, and low-income students in particular, have access to high-quality teachers.
The newly approved plans come from Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, and Wyoming, and are states responses to the departments Excellent Educators for All Initiative, which began in 2014. The initiatives three parts include the creation of comprehensive teacher-equity plans, an “educator equity support network” to help support teachers in high-need schools, and equity profiles to help states identify gaps in access to high-quality teaching.
via Education Department Approves Nine More States Teacher-Equity Plans – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Richard Bammer
Another update about Sierra Vista, a contract amendment for the Vacaville High parking lot and tennis courts project, and discussion about the forming of a citizen’s advisory committee to rename Sierra Vista are among the items on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight.
Kim Forrest, the district’s director of instruction, curriculum and assessment, will update the seven-member board about the status of the Bel Air Drive campus, specifically the latest activities of the school’s site planning committee. Sierra Vista, currently the home of the district’s Independent Study program, will open in August, after some remodeling, as a TK-8 school.
via Sierra Vista update, Measure A contracts to be considered by Vacaville Unified leaders.
By Richard Bammer
A public hearing about money set aside for teacher effectiveness and school safety/emergency preparedness services are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight.
Superintendent Brian Dolan will lead the hearing about the district’s plan for improving educator effectiveness that will be funded by Senate Bill 103, the Education Trailer Bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 22.
In an effort to encourage and retain teachers during the state’s ongoing teacher shortage, it set aside nearly $500 million for school districts to begin programs that would boost the effectiveness of teachers and administrators, but especially for new teachers and administrators, guided by requirements adopted by the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
via Plans for teacher training, contract for school emergency services to be discussed by Dixon Unified leaders.
By Carol Troxell
Cleveland Central Catholic High School is an urban school with 645 students. National media once dubbed the Cleveland, Ohio metro area as the epicenter of the foreclosure disaster. In a climate like this, our schools goal is providing students with the tools they need to be financially successful, and the knowledge to make sound financial decisions as adults to prevent generations of repetitive, costly financial mistakes. We feel that success can be achieved by fostering financial literacy in our students teen years.
Breaking the Cycle
Students sign up for our personal finance class because they realize a personal need to be prepared for their future. One of our current students has described how his family has major credit score problems and had a hard time purchasing a house. He recognizes the struggle that they experienced and hopes to make his life easier in the future. He recently told me that he accomplished his first financial goal of saving $150, observing, “It was very hard.” He set this goal at the beginning of the school year and became conscious of where every penny of his money was going. Another student receives a paycheck card instead of an actual check.
via Financial Literacy: Addressing Student, Family, and Community Needs | Edutopia.
By Chase Mielke
The evening is warm and humid. People of all ages and backgrounds stretch along the local park as bluesy rock music thumps the air, played passionately by a group of students. Nearly everyone is wearing a “Spread Positivity” t-shirt. Free popsicles are passed around. A collection jar is stuffed with change. Its a free concert put on by students for the entire town in an effort to create something positive. The project will go on to raise hundreds of dollars for our schools future “positivity projects.”
The “Spread Positivity Project” is among the dozens of successful projects that Ive seen and helped students create as a part of a unit on group problem solving. Students have collected and donated hundreds of shoes and clothing items for Third World countries and local causes. Ive seen students create fundraising workouts for the Wounded Warriors Project. Ive seen students raise thousands of dollars for a classmate who was re-diagnosed with cancer, and in the process spark what would become an inspiring non-profit, DC Strong, that now raises even more thousands of dollars for children battling cancer.
via Empowering Students to Change the World | Edutopia.
By Alyson Klein
After eight years and at least three serious attempts, Congress is finally moving forward on bipartisan, bicameral legislation to rewrite the almost-universally-despised No Child Left Behind Act, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
The preliminary agreement—or “framework”—as the lead negotiators, Reps. John Kline, R-Minn., and Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., are calling it—is not the final word. Instead, its a jumping off point to set the stage for an official conference committee that begins Wednesday and could end this week.
via With the ESEA Conference Set to Kick Off, Is the End Near for NCLB? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Robert Reiss
Pretty much everyone in America agrees on the importance of our education system. And yet, consider these numbers: America spends $810 billion annually on our school systems and still we are in 17th place in reading and 32nd place in math globally. Shouldn’t that be unacceptable to us?
In an effort to understand how to fix the American education system, I went to a leader in one of the fastest growing and most successful segments of our school system – charter schools. Below are direct answers from Jon Hage, Founder and CEO of Charter Schools USA on our challenges, actions, a unique strategy for CEOs, insights on presidential candidates and recommendations for the future.
via How To Fix Education In America – Forbes.
By John Fensterwald
A team of researchers found that, two years into the state’s new school financing law, “nagging concerns” are tempering the enthusiasm that school districts and county offices of education have for the Local Control Funding Formula.
In their final report, due out in several weeks, they will urge Gov. Jerry Brown and the State Board of Education to “reaffirm the vision” of the new funding law – shifting decisions to the local level, closer to the classroom – or risk losing the opportunity “if we don’t get it right.”
via Brown urged to ‘reaffirm the vision’ of funding law | EdSource.
By Richard Bammer
Some 90 Dixon sixth-graders hiked along a rural, dirt road, marveled at close-up views of native plants and animal tracks, tested cloudy water, squeezed wet earth between their fingers, wrote their observations in a journal, then composed a few lines of poetry.
Despite winds gusting to 30 mph, making for brisk mid-November air under sunny skies, the students, from Gretchen Higgins Elementary, appeared to enjoy their field trip to Rush Ranch on Monday.
There, on the Grizzly Island Road cattle ranch, off Highway 12 and south of Suisun City, the three classes, broken down into groups of about one dozen each, supplemented their in-class lessons about the marsh, the largest of its kind on the West Coast and considered a fragile ecosystem.
via Dixon students learn ecology at Rush Ranch.
By Meg Anderson
Ask yourself this question: Were you aware of inequality growing up?
Your answer may depend in part on where you went to high school. Students at racially diverse schools, particularly black and Hispanic students, are more tuned in to injustice than students going to school mostly with kids that look like them.
That’s one of the main threads of a new book by Carla Shedd, an assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Columbia University. In Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice, Shedd goes straight to the source: the students at four Chicago public high schools. She even let the kids pick their own pseudonyms.
via Your School Shapes How You Think About Inequality : NPR Ed : NPR.
By Alyson Klein
Its official: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Reps. John Kline, R-Minn., and Bobby Scott, D-Va., on Friday announced that they have a framework for moving forward on a long-stalled rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
The next step: a conference committee, which could kick off in coming days. The goal is to pass a bill to revise the ESEA—the current version of which is the No Child Left Behind Act—for the first time in 15 years, by the end of 2015.
via Lawmakers Announce Preliminary Agreement On ESEA Rewrite – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Jessica Rogness
A new housing community is in the works east of Leisure Town Road.
The Vacaville Planning Commission will be presented with a detailed draft of the Roberts’ Ranch project, located within the East of Leisure Town Road Growth Area.
The applicants, Regis Homes of Sacramento, submitted the draft in September for review and approval by the city.
The report provides the Planning Commission with an introduction to the project as the project begins the planning approval process.
The Roberts’ Ranch project is a 248-acre project site is located directly south of the Brighton Landing project area along Leisure Town Road, between Elmira and Fry Roads.
via Planning commissioners to discuss Leisure Town Road community, Wood stadium.
By Katrina Schwartz
Discussions of learning tend to focus on what happens in schools, but many students are learning lots of important skills outside of school through extracurriculars like sports, music, art, politics or any other passion. Often students don’t get recognition for the learning they pursue on their own, and many times they don’t even see their passion as learning at all. The Chicago City of Learning project is trying to meet that need by helping connect youth to resources that support their interests and provide validation for the hard work that goes into learning outside the academic setting.
Chicago City of Learning started in 2013, growing out of a prolonged teachers strike that prompted the city to think about how it could connect its youth to non-school constructive activities that they might be able to get credit for later. At that time, city official realized there was no centralized place for youth to discover opportunities related to their interests and no way for the city to keep track of the hundreds of organizations offering programming. Chicago City of Learning was born as a mayor’s initiative, but was soon taken over by partner organizations.
via How Can We Harness the Power of Learning Beyond the School Day? | MindShift | KQED News.
By Kevin W. Green
The Solano Safe Routes to School program has been awarded a $3 million grant by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission under the 2015 regional allocation of the Active Transportation Program.
Solano Transportation Authority’s Safe Route to School program, known as SR2S, will receive funding for infrastructure improvements at seven schools in Benicia and Vallejo, while providing education and outreach to 26 schools throughout Benicia, Rio Vista and Vallejo, according to a Solano Transportation Authority press release.
via Solano Safe Routes to School program gets $3M boost.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
The smile on Dominic Miller’s face couldn’t have been any wider.
The 5-year-old who attends Dan O. Root Elementary School was one of about 560 children who participated in a special event Thursday at Fairfield High School’s Schaefer Stadium.
The gathering was the first since the Fairfield-Suisun School District partnered with Special Olympics Northern California to launch a unified sports program with eight elementary schools.
via The great equalizer: Sports program pairs special, general-ed children.
By Richard Bammer
The Fairfield High marching band will join other school bands for a halftime performance during a nationally televised college football bowl game in Memphis, Tenn., it has been announced.
An invitation to perform at the Liberty Bowl, Jan. 2, is an honor reserved for the most talented student performers from across the nation, Brian Swetland, a longtime FHS music teacher and band leader, wrote in a press release issued Thursday.
The 57th edition of the game, featuring nationally ranked teams yet to be determined, will air at 12:20 p.m. PST on ESPN.
via .Fairfield High marching band to perform at Liberty Bowl – The Reporter