How should the U.S. Department of Education regulate under the Every Student Succeeds Act? People got a chance to share their thoughts with the department face-to-face during two hearings this month. But the public also got a chance to submit public comments on the Internet. The comment period for those submissions just closed Thursday. And as of about 6 p.m. that day, there were more than 200 comments filed.
So what were some of the highlights? You probably wont be surprised to learn that accountability took up a lot of the oxygen in the comments. And testing issues like how to handle opt-outs were also expounded upon. Plus, school turnaround issues and funding got some attention.
Weve tried to organize the highlighted comments into several categories where there was a lot of input. Confession: We havent been through all 200-plus comments. But dont worry, this isnt the last time well take a look at what folks want to see in ESSA regs.
via Heres How the Education World Thinks the Feds Should Regulate Under ESSA – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By John Fensterwald
Gov. Jerry Brown pointed to significant increases in K-12 spending over the past four years and the state’s leadership in returning schools to local control during his annual State of the State address Thursday in which he emphasized the need for frugality and a continued attention to “how we pay for the commitments we have already made.” (Go here for full text of the address.)
With education a relatively small theme in his 20-minute speech, Brown called on legislators to direct their attention to repairing “our deteriorating infrastructure,” taking further action to confront the state’s water shortage and paying for escalating costs and increased health-care coverage under the state’s Medi-Cal program. He has submitted proposals for all three issues.
In a section on education, Brown credited a strong economy and the passage of temporary taxes under Proposition 30 for a 51 percent overall increase in spending on public schools and community colleges over the last four years. Spending would rise from post-recession low point of $47 billion to $72 billion in the proposed 2016-17 budget. Brown has directed most of the money to the Local Control Funding Formula, which channels extra money to English learners and low-income children “to enable educators to overcome the barriers” that these children face,%
via Brown praises return to local control in State of the State | EdSource.
All over the United States, schools are scrambling to find qualified special education teachers. There just arent enough of them to fill every open position.
That means schools must often settle for people who are under-certified and inexperienced. Special ed is tough, and those who arent ready for the challenge may not make it past the first year or two.
Really good teacher preparation might be the difference. At least, thats what the Lee Pesky Learning Center believes.
In partnership with Boise State University, this nonprofit is working to overcome the shortage in Idaho, not just by filling vacancies, but by creating special education teachers fully prepared for the demands — and the rewards — of working with special-needs students.
via Solving The Special Ed Teacher Shortage: Quality, Not Quantity : NPR Ed : NPR.
By Alyson Klein
We know that the Every Student Succeeds Act, which passed with big bipartisan support, doesnt force states to stick with or adopt the Common Core State Standards. So what does it actually ask for when it comes to this particular issue?
The short answer is that the standards language in ESSA—the latest iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—strikes a delicate compromise thats kind of complicated to wrap your mind around.
via How Does the Every Student Succeeds Act Deal With Standards? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By John Glidden
Board president Raymond “Victor” Mommsen officially resigned from his position Tuesday, leaving the Vallejo school board once again without a trustee.
Vice President Tony Ubalde made the announcement during the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.
Ubalde read a brief statement from Mommsen, who cited family reasons for his resignation.
“I need to spend more time with my family,” Ublade read. “My family needs me.”
Mommsen was first elected to the board in 2007, and ran unopposed in 2011. His seat is up for re-election this November.
via Mommsen resigns from Vallejo school board.
By Irma Widjojo
One out of four applicants is set to be appointed to a vacant trustee seat at the Benicia School Board on Thursday night.
Four people have applied for the position since the application period opened at the beginning of the month. It closed on Friday.
The seat was left open due to the sudden death of Rose Switzer in late November.
Those who have applied are Stacy Holguin, Ira Glick, Karina Guerrero and William Lawrence, district officials said. In December, the board chose to appoint a trustee instead of holding a special election to fill the position.
via Benicia school board trustee applicants to be interviewed, appointed.
By Richard Bammer
The Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce seeks applicants for scholarships available to high school seniors and college students who attend schools in Solano County. Chamber leaders will award two $1,500 scholarships to college students, and two $750 scholarships to high school seniors. The scholarships are called “2016 Inspire Learning.”
“Students who do well in school and in the community have the ability to do great things if they continue their education,” Andrea Garcia, president of the chamber, said in a press release issued earlier this month. “For this reason, we encourage Solano County Hispanic students to be college graduates by providing scholarships during their academic journey.”
via Friday deadline to apply for Hispanic Chamber scholarships.
Slow Food Solano will offer grants for gardens at Solano County schools, elementary to high schools, it has been announced.
Applications will be accepted online through Friday at the nonprofit group’s website, www.slowfoodsolano.org.
Last year Slow Food awarded 17 garden grants to schools in all seven major Solano cities. The Fairfield-Suisun district cited the group for its contributions to support schools, noted Mary Bourguignon, a spokeswoman for Slow Food Solano.
via Deadline is Friday for Slow Food school garden grants.
By Daily Republic Staff
Friday is the last day to apply for the 2016 Sister City summer exchange group.
The Fairfield-Nirasaki Sister City Program is looking for local high school students with an interest in Japan to be part of a three-week student exchange visit to Fairfield’s sister city.
Any high school student in the Fairfield–Suisun School District or Travis School District is eligible to apply. Students who live in Fairfield and attend schools outside the district may also apply.
via Sister City summer exchange applications due Friday.
By Irma Widjojo
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, more than 160 people rolled up their sleeves to take part in a day of community service in Vallejo Monday.
For the seventh year, Rebuilding Together Solano County and Kaiser Permanente joined efforts for a MLK Workday. This year, the organizations rehabilitated and revamped two Solano County schools, including Steffan Manor Elementary School.
The school has been recommended by the school district, Rebuilding Together Executive Director Elizabeth Hoffman said.
“Eighty five percent of the students here are at or below the poverty level,” Hoffman said.
She added that 90 percent of the students at Fairfield’s David Weird K-8 Preparatory Academy, the other workday site, are at or below poverty level.
via Vallejo school gets face-lift on MLK day.
By Richard Bammer
As one of several Sierra Vista School business items on Thursday’s governing board agenda, Vacaville Unified leaders approved the school’s Reopening Committee recommendations that were presented at the governing board’s Dec. 10 meeting.
They include two classes for each grade K-6, and four classes per grade level 7-8.
When the Bel Air Drive campus opens in August, the initial upgrades to the school, currently the home of the district’s Independent Study program, are projected to cost $2 million — for parking lot expansion and bell and phone systems, among other things. Other major remodeling or construction projects, including a new multipurpose room and science classrooms, are expected to cost $11 million and will be completed in the coming months and years.
Costs will be paid through Measure A, the $194 million bond passed by voters in November 2014.
via Vacaville school district leaders OK Sierra Vista Reopening Committee recommendations.
By Richard Bammer
Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2016, Monday, was bound to be memorable for any number of reasons, among them news stories about the slain civil rights leader’s legacy and message of nonviolent civil disobedience, peace and justice for all, of course; the annual National Day of Service, inspired by his life and observed across the United States; and, maybe somewhat surprisingly, Apple Inc.’s main web page, with its striking black-and-white image of the Atlanta-born Baptist minister and a quote attributed to him: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
via Kaiser workers, others turn out on local day of volunteerism.
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Students and staff returning Tuesday to David Weir K-8 Preparatory Academy will find some big changes.
Foliage that eclipsed the fence at the edge of campus that bumps up to homes will be trimmed back.
New garden beds await the students and teachers. There will be packets of seeds waiting to be planted and tools to help with the task.
There’s even a few surprises for the teachers thanks to the many volunteers who gave up their time Sunday to help Rebuilding Together Solano County. They did the prep work, from painting window sills to trimming trees and doing some housecleaning.
via David Weir recipient of Martin Luther King day of service.
By Daily Republic Staff
Heart 2 Heart, an organization that provides services to emancipated foster youth, is the recipient of a bunco fundraiser Feb. 13.
The event will take place at the Solano Community College cafeteria, 4000 Suisun Valley Road.
Doors open at 1 p.m. Play is from 2 to 5 p.m. The event is being hosted by the college’s Foster Youth Success Initiative.
via Bunco fundraiser to benefit foster youth agency.
By Daily Republic Staff
Solano County libraries in two communities are hosting free musical performances this week.
The Will C. Wood orchestra will perform at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Vacaville Public Library-Town Square, 1 Town Square Place.
Space is limited. Early arrival is advised.
The orchestra will perform popular tunes that all families should recognize. Many students of the orchestra are also involved in the upcoming Will C. Wood musical, “The Sound of Music,” with performances March 9-12.
via Pair of Solano libraries schedule free musical performances.
By Ryan McCarthy
Hotel stays for three separate conferences will cost the Fairfield-Suisun School District a total of $2,169.
Six administrators and teachers will stay two nights at the Doubletree Hotel Mission Valley at a cost of $1,438.
They are attending the No Excuses University Conference from Jan. 24-26 in San Diego.
No Excuses University is a program that emphasizes the right of every student to be educated in a way that prepares them for college.
via Hotel costs for Fairfield-Suisun School District total $2,169.
By Pauline Zdonek
As I prepare for another afternoon of district-provided professional development activities, I always make sure that I bring plenty of work to do (papers to grade, lesson planning, etc.). This isnt because I have a bad attitude and hate professional development (PD). A great PD event can really energize me to improve my classroom instruction. However, the sad fact is that the majority of PDs I attend are repetitive, simplistic, or downright boring. I bring other work to do so that I dont get irritated when I feel that my time is being so carelessly wasted.
I am not alone. According to the Center for Public Educations Teaching the Teachers report (PDF), almost all teachers participate in PD throughout the year. However, a majority of those teachers find the PD in which they participate ineffective.
via Why Don’t We Differentiate Professional Development? | Edutopia.
By Alyson Klein
Attention school district officials: Do you want to offer more health services to your students but arent sure where to start? The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have some ideas.
The two agencies took a look at policies and programs that already seem to be getting results in some school districts, and they put out some guidance to help districts and health care agencies collaborate more. You can read the letter here.
Whats more, the Education Department and HHS released a tool kit offering five ideas to help districts integrate more health services into schools. They have five suggestions, plus some practical advice for implementation, and links to resources, complete with at least one real-life example.
via Ed. Dept., HHS Offer Suggestions to Help Districts Pair Academics, Health Services – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
With the federal government urging the college-bound to fill out financial aid forms, helpful workshops are being planned in the Vacaville-area.
One is the free Cash for College Financial Aid Workshop, part of a statewide effort designed to help parents and graduating high school seniors get the financial aid information and assistance they need, such as details about Cal-Grants and hints for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or Fafsa.
One such workshop, open to the public, will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 23 in the Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1735 Enterprise Drive, Building 3, in Fairfield.
via Financial aid workshop set for college-bound students.
By Ryan McCarthy
Travel by five Fairfield-Suisun School District staff to the National Board Teaching and Learning Conference scheduled March 10-12 in Washington, D.C. won approval Thursday by school district trustees.
“This conference will spotlight some of the nation’s most thoughtful and provocative leaders with a wide variety of perspectives so that our teachers can hear from and engage with these leaders directly on the issues that matter most,” Rona Portalupi, assistant superintendent for educational services, said.
via $9,641 trip to Washington, D.C. wins OK by Fairfield-Suisun school board.