By Ryan McCarthy
Review of a resolution Thursday for a school bond planned to go before voters June 7 included a Fairfield-Suisun School District trustee’s comments that, “The public will let us know how they think.”
“We’re not going to force anything on the public,” Trustee John Silva said.
The resolution reviewed Thursday will return this month for action by trustees about whether to put it on the ballot.
The bond, if passed by voters, would cost property owners no more than $60 a year per $100,000 of assessed valuation, a school district staff report said. The total amount of bonds to be sold is not yet determined.
via ‘We’re not going to force anything on the public,’ Fairfield-Suisun School District trustee says of bond.
By Ryan McCarthy
Lisa Devoe, a U.S. history teacher at the Public Safety Academy in Fairfield and a product of the Fairfield-Suisun School District, was honored Thursday as teacher of the year for the district.
Devoe spoke at the school board meeting about how as a teacher “you throw that pebble in the pond” with results that may not be seen for 10 or 15 years.
“It’s immeasurable,” she said of how teachers affect students.
via Devoe, of Public Safety Academy, Fairfield-Suisun district’s top teacher.
By Zhai Yun Tan
Take a look at this question: How do modern novels represent the characteristics of humanity?
If you were tasked with answering it, what would your first step be? Would you scribble down your thoughts — or would you Google it?
Terry Heick, a former English teacher in Kentucky, had a surprising revelation when his eighth- and ninth-grade students quickly turned to Google.
“What they would do is they would start Googling the question, ‘How does a novel represent humanity?’ ” Heick says. “That was a real eye-opener to me.”
via How Has Google Affected The Way Students Learn? | MindShift | KQED News.
In 2014, the Legislature and Governor approved a plan that aims to fully fund teacher pensions over the next 30 years. This online series will examine how the CalSTRS funding plan is being implemented.
Funding Plan Is a Major State Accomplishment. Prior to state action, CalSTRS projected that it would run out of assets in the mid-2040s, an alarming prospect for a pension system. The funding plan aims to fully fund CalSTRS by that time.
As we describe in our first post, the CalSTRS funding plan is a major state accomplishment.As we describe in our second post, however, the implementation of the law differs from our earlier understanding. Specifically, the plan now relies on a calculation that is complex even by pension standards.
While CalSTRS appears to be interpreting and implementing the law in good faith, we are concerned that some aspects of the funding plan may no longer reflect the intent of the Legislature when it passed the law. As we described in our concluding post, tweaks to the law may be necessary to ensure that the Legislature realizes its intent for CalSTRS.
By Kelli Germeraad
On January 29, Vanden High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (JROTC) cadet group held its annual awards night.
This is a special night in which outstanding cadets are honored with national awards from Veterans and military organizations based on meeting high standards of academics, community service, patriotism, and leadership. In addition, these awards night offer the cadet group the opportunity to showcase to parents and community members the successes of both individual cadets and the group as a whole.
Throughout my interaction with JROTC programs, especially Vanden’s, I have had the opportunity to see students excel both as leaders as well as involvement in the community. This program offers each cadet room to grow and achieve as individuals and as a team.
via Kelli’s Heroes: Vanden honors JROTC cadet group.
By Richard Bammer
Travis Unified leaders heard a sobering account Tuesday of how Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest state budget may affect the Fairfield school district, with a finance official pointing out several caution-worthy variables, including inflation, capital gains, and per-pupil funding.
But perhaps most significantly for the district’s bottom line in the coming years are employee pension costs, said Ken Forrest, chief business officer for the 5,100-student district.
Like other California districts, Travis faces increased employee and employer contributions to the state teachers (CalSTRS) and state employee (CalPERS) retirement systems.
via Employee pension obligations worry Travis school district officials.
By Richard Bammer
Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders, when they meet tonight, are expected to approve an estimated $250 million bond measure for the June ballot, adopt a facilities master plan, and “sunshine” several employee contracts.
Superintendent Kris Corey said the proposed bond measure, for nearly a year the subject of discussions and communitywide meetings, would ask property owners to pay no more than $60 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. By law, the money could only be spent on projects identified on the bond project list, among other things, for new science classrooms, upgrades to existing classrooms, replacement of aging portable classrooms, enhancement of campus security, and improving existing building systems.
The seven-member governing board is likely to approve the bond, and the resolution for it must be filed with the county by March 11 in order for it to appear on the June 7 ballot.
via Fairfield-Suisun school district trustees expected to OK $250M bond for June ballot.
By Dr. Richard Curwin
Recently I have been involved in several discussions about whether children are actually facing an unprecedented increase in exposure to violence or just the amped-up media of a world that has always been violent. I believe the latter. From ancient times to the present, there has been an endless parade of war, crime, and disaster. There are been times of burning witches, public hangings, and torture. In the 20th century, children faced two World Wars, gang wars during Prohibition (highlighted by constant machine gun fire), and a Great Depression. When I was a child, I lived under the threat of nuclear war. I still remember air raid drills, practicing duck and cover when we hid under our desks with our hand over our heads to protect us from nuclear bombs.
via Helping Your Students Cope With a Violent World | Edutopia.
By Christina Samuels
Special education spending for school aged-children would hold steady, but spending for infants and children under 5 would see a modest boost under the White Houses proposed budget for fiscal year 2017, released on Feb. 9.
Students ages 6-21 currently receive the bulk of federal special education dollars, and that wouldnt change under the proposed spending plan, which would hold overall special education spending steady at $11.9 billion, the same as the previous fiscal year.
An additional $35 million would be allocated to services for children ages 3 to 5, bringing the total proposal to about $403 million. Those children are served under Section 619 of the federal special education law.
via Preschool Special Education Would Get Small Boost Under Federal Budget Plan – On Special Education – Education Week.
By Andrea Ball
This is a year of unexpected opportunity to strengthen early childhood programs and policy in California. The new federal education law, Governor Jerry Brown’s surprising early education budget proposal and the continued commitment of the Legislature to early childhood programs together offer a unique chance for state policymakers and local educators to deepen support for early learning programs and address achievement gaps.
The Every Student Succeeds Act, the title of the federal law, contains new recognition of the importance of early childhood education. There is new language encouraging the use of federal education funds at the local level to help children successfully transition from pre-kindergarten programs into elementary school. School districts will also have to address these transitions in federally required local plans. State agencies will have to outline how they will support local efforts in early childhood education. And for the first time, federal professional development funds will include preschool administrators and teachers, including those who work with pre-kindergarten dual-language children.
via Bold action needed on early childhood education | EdSource.
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville-area high school students are invited to join the Solano County 4-H SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) program, a way to teach technical subject matter to elementary-level students, it has been announced.
For those interested, student training sessions have been scheduled for Feb. 15 and 16 in the county 4-H office, 501 Texas St., Fairfield. The Monday session is from 1 to 8 p.m., the Tuesday session from 6 to 9 p.m., and students must participate in both training days. Deadline to register is Friday.
Organizers say the training is a chance for teens to engage in community service, learn new skills, experience teaching firsthand, and have fun.
via 4-H program geared to train high-schoolers to teach science to younger students.
By Jane Meredith Adams
California will begin its first statewide collection of data on students who are chronically absent, a key indicator of academic trouble, the California Department of Education said Thursday.
The need for a statewide pool of absenteeism data long has been disputed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who in 2014 vetoed two attendance-collection bills and wrote, “Keeping children in school and learning is a priority, but collecting more data is not the primary solution.”
The change is the result of the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed by President Barack Obama in December, which requires states to collect and report data on chronic absenteeism.
via State to begin collecting data on students who are chronically absent | EdSource.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 13 high-performing California middle schools have been newly designated as model middle grades schools in the 2015–16 Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage (STW™—TCS) program.
Torlakson also announced that the sustained progress of 20 previously chosen STW™—TCS schools will allow them to retain their designation.
“These 33 schools excel at keeping students engaged and motivated during this critical juncture in a student’s school career,” Torlakson said. “I congratulate them for their efforts to exceed challenging goals, narrow the achievement gap, and set their students on a solid path toward high school and future success.”
via 2016 Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage Program – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education).
By Richard Bammer
State schools chief Tom Torlakson on Monday officially accorded Vacaville’s Willis Jepson Middle School an honor local educators have known about for nearly a month.
The Elder Street campus — the daytime home to 43 teachers, 940 students and Principal Kelley Birch — is among 13 high-performing California middle schools that have been newly designated as model middle schools in the 2015–16 Schools to Watch™—Taking Center Stage program.
Schools in the program demonstrate academic excellence, responsiveness to the needs of young adolescents, and social equity, according to California Department of Education officials, who issued a press release.
via CDE recognizes Jepson as ‘model’ middle school.
By Richard Bammer
Travis Unified leaders, when they meet tonight, will hear how latest state budget numbers may affect the 5,100-student district with two elementary campuses in Vacaville.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s new budget, at $122.6 billion and due for revision in May, sets aside $1.2 billion in discretionary, one-time use for California schools, equal to $214 per ADA. That translates to nearly $1.1 million for the Fairfield district’s schools.
The five-member governing board must adopt its 2016-17 budget on or before June 30.
Some state education officials believe Brown’s budget underestimates Proposition 98 revenues for the current and coming fiscal years, but it was unclear from agenda documents if Ken Forrest, the district’s chief business official, would make that case.
via Governor’s 2016-17 budget on TUSD agenda tonight.
By Irma Widjojo
In a move that could resonate in this community — both school students and parents — for years to come, a committee has been formed to delve into the possibility of changing the school schedule of Benicia High School.
At the heart of the matter is a simple question: How much is too much for students?
“We are trying to find a schedule that provides the best environment for students and the staff,” said Benicia Unified School District Superintendent Charles Young.
For decades, the high school has followed a six-period day schedule, with only minor adjustments taking place.
First period begins at 8 a.m., while those who take an extra course arrive at 7 a.m., and the day usually ends at 3:05 p.m.
via Committee looks at schedule change for Benicia High School.
C.J. Anderson would not be denied.
The same goes for the Denver Broncos.
With 3:13 left in the fourth quarter, Denver needed to get in the end zone to ice the Super Bowl over the Carolina Panthers.
Anderson gave the Broncos just that, as he bullied past tacklers for a two-yard touchdown run that clinched the 24-10 win.
Anderson, the Bethel High graduate and former Times-Herald Male Athlete of the Year, finished with 90 yards on 23 carries in his second Super Bowl in his three seasons in the NFL.
Locally, this game was all about Anderson but nationally was also about the legendary career of Peyton Manning.
via Bethel High grad C.J. Anderson has clinching touchdown in Super Bowl win.
By Richard Bammer
It was her parting shot, about 15 minutes long, but one filled with generally good fiscal news for Vacaville Unified School District leaders.
In her last official duty as interim chief business official, Sandra Lepley on Thursday told the governing board how the latest state budget numbers may affect the 12,300-student district with 16 campuses. The board must adopt its 2016-17 budget on or before June 30.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s new budget, at $122.6 billion and due for revision in May, sets aside $1.2 billion in discretionary, one-time use for California schools, equal to $214 per ADA. That translates to about $2.3 million for Vacaville schools, budgeted over three years, Lepley told trustees.
In her computer-aided slide presentation in the Educational Services Center, she noted that the one-time funds are reflected in multiyear projections, at $771,400 per year, to 2017-18.
via VUSD interim CBO: State’s one-time money ‘may grow’ with budget revision.
By Susan Hiland
The Vacaville School District’s Willis Jepson Middle School is among the list of 13 distinguished California schools honored with the 2016 Schools To Watch: Taking Center Stage Model School award.
A ceremony will occur Feb. 24 at Willis Jepson Middle School to honor the staff and students.
California Schools to Watch: Taking Center Stage is a statewide program implemented by several organizations that include the California League of Middle Schools and the California Department of Education.
via Good News: Willis Jepson earns model school designation.
By Susan Hiland
Fairview Elementary in Fairfield and Padan Elementary in Vacaville received a belated Christmas gift in January –new athletic equipment thanks to donations by Solano County Success is Working All Together and NorthBay Healthcare.
SWAT is a girls’ softball organization whose goal is to provide an affordable, competitive environment for girls in Solano County to play ball in tournaments across the state.
They also stress the importance of giving back to the community, and when they learned about NorthBay Healthcare’s Adopt-a-School program, they wanted to help.
via Good News: SWAT, NorthBay donate sporting gifts to adopted schools.