3 Travis schools get Gold Ribbon ovation – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

The staff at Cambridge Elementary could see the young child falling further and further behind his classmates.

Language difficulties had frustrated the fifth-grader, and he had become disinterested in school.

“He was very unmotivated and a reluctant learner . . . and was behind in his reading and math,” said Susan Nader, who is in her fourth year as principal at the Vacaville campus.

Then the boy was placed in the school’s Prism program, in which children are given hands-on training about computer programming and robotics.

“He is reading a grade level now and getting all his work done,” Nader said.

Source: 3 Travis schools get Gold Ribbon ovation

Dixon Unified School Board to select new member Monday – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified leaders, when they gather for a special meeting Monday night, will select one of six candidates to replace Andrew Bloom, who resigned his trustee post in March.

The six are Michael Ceremello, a former Dixon City Council member and military veteran; Luke Foster, an attorney and assistant coach with Dixon Youth Rugby; Brandon Lodigiani, an employee with a biotechnology firm and former president of the Dixon Quarterback Club; Melissa Maseda, an educator and former PTO president; Lloyd McCabe, a California Department of Education consultant and former high school agriculture science teacher; and Robert Strong, an Air Force veteran who has also worked in the oil-spill recovery business.

The four current trustees — John Gabby, Caitlin O’Halloran, Guy Garcia and Joe DiPaola — will make a provisional appointment to replace Bloom.


via: Dixon Unified School Board to select new member Monday

Solano County schools receive recognition for Gold Ribbon awards – Times Herald

By Times Herald Staff

Three Benicia schools were among the ten Solano County elementary schools have been selected by the California Department of Education with the prestigious California Gold Ribbon Schools award.

The three in Benicia were as follows: Joe Henderson Elementary, Mary Farmar Elementary and Robert Semple Elementary.

In order to be invited to apply for the honor, schools must have met a variety of eligibility of rigorous criteria based on the submission of an application, including a comprehensive description of the school’s signature practices, and a successful application review, according to a news release.

Over 1,200 applications were reviewed for completeness by teams of educators from across the state under the direction of the CDE. The Solano County Office of Education conducted coordinated site validation visits as required by the CDE, the release stated.

Source: Solano County schools receive recognition for Gold Ribbon awards

Benicia High girls donate locks for good cause – Times Herald

By Irma Widjojo

It was more than just a haircut for seven Benicia high schoolers Thursday afternoon.

The seven girls, with the support of their friends, gathered at the multipurpose room of Benicia High School to donate inches of their locks to be made into wigs for cancer patients.

“I just think it’s a great cause,” Clare Rodgers said. “I’m lucky that I haven’t had to go through cancer, but I’ll do what I can to make someone else’s life better who’s going through treatment.”

Rodgers was the organizer of Thursday’s Pantene Make the Cut event, which was a first at the school.

The junior said she’s donated her hair twice to be made into wigs and wanted to bring it to her school, especially after losing a family friend to cancer last year.

One of the seven donators was sophomore Lily Chase, whose hair was cut by her mother, Theresa Chase.

Source: Benicia High girls donate locks for good cause

Charcoal drawing takes top honors at student show – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Ernestina Garcia was having a “very proud parent moment” as she gazed at, then photographed, her daughter’s artwork on the wall of the Vacaville Art Gallery.

Natalia Garcia, a Willis Jepson seventh-grader, had replicated the Twenty One Pilots album cover for the record “Gun.”

“She’s very artistic,” Garcia said, adding the family has many of her drawings on the wall of their home.

Creativity runs in the family, Garcia said. Another daughter is a musician.

The younger Garcia said she chose Twenty One Pilots because they are her favorite band. She had also submitted a drawing of the late David Bowie.

Source: Charcoal drawing takes top honors at student show

Hotel will accommodate more Will C. Wood students for prom – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Just when some Will C. Wood High School students thought their senior prom might be a bust because of a lack of available tickets, the Napa hotel where it will be held has come through to accommodate all who want to buy tickets and attend, Vacaville Unified officials said.

At midday Thursday, Jennifer Leonard, public information officer for Vacaville Unified, said school officials had originally set aside 300 tickets, based on last year’s prom attendance numbers.

But, to their surprise, once ticket sales began, demand then reached 350, and school officials “reached out to the hotel,” Spring Hill Suites by Marriott, and managers there were “kind enough to accommodate 350 tickets,” said Leonard.

Source: Hotel will accommodate more Will C. Wood students for prom

Teens target of inaugural youth summit Operation Representation – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club, Will C. Wood Interact Club and the Reach/Aware Coalition invite teens ages 13 to 18 to the first youth summit Operation Representation.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. April 30 at the Ulatis Community Center, 1020 Ulatis Drive. The summit kicks off at 9 a.m. The summit will focus on empowering youth through an educational forum on gender equality, equity, leadership and civic engagement.

Attendees will view documentaries that address media misrepresentation and harmful gender stereotype messages.

Source: Teens target of inaugural youth summit Operation Representation

Benicia High School Performing Arts Presents: Seussical, The Musical – Benicia Patch

By Irma Serna

The Cat in the Hat tell the story of Horton, a gamer-boy elephant who discovers a speck of dust containing the tiny world of Whoogle, including the beta-tester Jojo, a Who child who simply wants to invent a new phone app but is punished for thinking too many “thinks.”  Horton faces a double challenge–not only must he protect the Whos from a concrete jungle of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible reality TV Star, Mayzie La Bird.  Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping, and a trial, his adoring neighbor the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz never loses faith in him.

Source: Benicia High School Performing Arts Presents: Seussical, The Musical

Microsoft Announces Minecraft: Education Edition Beta – Education News

By Jace Harr

Microsoft has announced beta testing of Minecraft: Education Edition, which is the company’s education-focused suite for Minecraft that integrates tools for teachers and students to help them use the game more effectively in the classroom.

The education-centered offshoot of was first revealed in January of this year. This May, a closed beta of the game will involve more than 100 schools in 30 countries, reports Pradeep of MS Power User. By June, any school will be able to access the Education Edition for free as long as teachers have a fully updated operating system and an Office 365 Education account. Eventually, Microsoft plans to charge $5 per user each year.

Minecraft: Education Edition is specifically tailored to teach the skills that Minecraft cultivates – namely collaboration, navigation, social skills, and empathy.

The video game blockbuster hit Minecraft is an open-world, sandbox-style game that allows players to build castles and fortresses to protect themselves from the many dangers the world has to offer. The players mine underground for supplies and then craft them into more complex items (hence the game’s name). The simple block-based system makes it easy for players to make basic and effective huts or complex architectural wonders. Players can also make rudimentary machines, grow plants, and breed livestock to help themselves survive.

Source: Microsoft Announces Minecraft: Education Edition Beta

20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions With Anxious or Defiant Students | MindShift

By Katrina Schwartz

Students’ behavior is a form of communication and when it’s negative it almost always stems from an underlying cause. There are many reasons kids might be acting out, which makes it difficult for a teacher in a crowded classroom to figure out the root cause. But even if there was time and space to do so, most teachers receive very little training in behavior during their credentialing programs. On average, teacher training programs mandate zero to one classes on behavior and zero to one courses on mental health. Teacher training programs mostly assume that kids in public schools will be “typical,” but that assumption can handicap teachers when they get into real classrooms.

A National Institute of Health study found that 25.1 percent of kids 13-18 in the US have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. No one knows how many more haven’t been diagnosed. Additionally between eight and 15 percent of the school-aged population has learning disabilities (there is a range because there’s no standard definition of what constitutes a learning disability). Nine percent of 13-18 year-olds have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (although the number one misdiagnoses of anxiety is ADHD), and 11.2 percent suffer from depression.

Source: 20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions With Anxious or Defiant Students | MindShift | KQED News

Poll: Voters support school bond and Prop. 30 extension – EdSource

By John Fensterwald

Seven months before the November election, substantial majorities of likely California voters said they would support extending Proposition 30, the temporary income tax on the wealthiest state residents, and passing a proposed $9 billion school construction bond, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California.

PPIC’s 12th annual extensive poll on Californians’ view of K-12 education also revealed that majorities believe a teacher shortage is a big problem and funding for K-12 schools is too low. Among other findings:

  • Expressing strong support for state-funded preschool, twice as many Californians said they favor directing a potential state budget surplus to fund preschool than to pay down the state debt;
  • Most of those surveyed said their local schools are doing an excellent or good job of preparing students for college but they are very concerned that students in low-income areas are less likely to be ready for college.

Source: Poll: Voters support school bond and Prop. 30 extension

Bethel High softball’s Alyssa Esparza is Athlete of the Week – Times Herald

By Thomas Gase

On April 12 of this year, Bethel High sophomore Alyssa Esparza turned 16 years old.

Turning 16 can be a big thing for anyone. Some people are often given a big present or even thrown a party. Some, if they are really lucky, get a car since this is the year they will be able to acquire a license.

Esparza wasn’t given the keys to any ignition, but the softball player was given a lot of pitches at the plate that she was able to drive.

The Jaguar went 2-for-4 at the plate that day and hit a home run in a 13-3 home win over Fairfield. As a belated birthday gift, she collected four more hits on Thursday in a crucial extra-inning win at American Canyon. She also pitched and earned the wins in both games in the circle with complete-game victories.

via: Beth High softballs’ Alyssa Esparza is Times-Herald athlete of the week

Bond survey results, trustee replacement on DUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A report on survey results stemming from a proposed bond measure, discussion and action on the appointment process to replace a trustee, and a report on the Next Generation Science Standards are on the agenda when Dixon Unified trustees meet Thursday in Dixon.

Superintendent Brian Dolan will discuss with the four-member governing board the polling results.

If they indicate voters might be willing to approve a bond measure, then a second survey will be carried out, offering more details about the projects the money will pay for.

The board, on Feb. 18, approved a $14,000 contract for polling services with Sextant Strategies & Research, a Los Angeles-based political and policy opinion research firm.

Source: Bond survey results, trustee replacement on Dixon Unified agenda

School-start times, facility-naming committee on VUSD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An update on proposed new school start times, an update on the Local Control Accountability Plan, and the appointment of a facility-naming citizens’ advisory committee are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet Thursday.

Chief Academic Officer Mark Frazier is expected to update the board on the proposed new school start times. At a March 3 governing board meeting, he updated trustees about the start times, which, under the proposal he presented, call for elementary schools to start 15 minutes earlier and middle schools and high schools to start nearly an hour later.

He also will present preliminary results from a student and community survey about the proposed new start times.

Frazier also is expected to review current bus routes, start-time change options, and review assumptions, needs and recommendations.

Source: School-start times, facility-naming committee on Vacaville Unified agenda

Education Department Announces Grants to Reduce and Improve Tests – Education Week

By Alyson Klein

States that want to develop new types of tests, revamp test scoring and score reporting, or take a close look at the number and type of tests they offer to eliminate low-quality or redundant tests can apply for $9 million in federal competitive grants under the Enhanced Assessment Grant program, the U.S. Department of Education announced Friday.

The department also put out a report highlighting local and state efforts to pare back testing, including a Delaware district’s efforts to get rid of low-quality tests and replace them with better formative assessments, efforts in Tennessee to reduce tests for kindergarteners and 1st graders, and the work in Tulsa, Okla., to cut back on testing, especially in grades 3 and 5. U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. was in Tulsa Friday to hold a roundtable on those efforts.

Source: Education Department Announces Grants to Reduce and Improve Tests – Politics K-12 – Education Week

CORE: California’s SQII scores measure the whole school environment – Attendance Works

There’s a new report card for a group of school districts in California that takes an innovative approach to providing a holistic view of a school’s success in supporting student achievement. The School Quality Improvement Index (SQII), used by six* districts in the state, moves away from primarily relying on test scores and expands the metrics to include chronic absence, school climate, and student growth. The new system is closely being watched as a possible model to comply with new reporting requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed by President Obama in December.

Source: CORE: California’s SQII scores measure the whole school environment – Attendance Works Attendance Works

DHS Students Offered Tuition-Free College Courses – Dixon Patch

By Lindsey Hickman

Dixon High (DHS) students have the opportunity to earn triple units, and get a jump start on their degree by taking Solano Community College Classes (SCC) online with a partnership between the schools.

The College Advancement Program (CAP) recently announced that SCC will be offering two career oriented courses online in the coming fall semester, with 25 spaces reserved for DHS students in each class at no charge.

As part of the collaboration with SCC and DHS, the classes are tuition-free, and upon successful completion, the students will earn dual credit in both the high school and junior college. The college credits are worth three credits; and they’re worth ten high school honors semester credits.

Source: DHS Students Offered Tuition-Free College Courses and Triple…

Vaca High upgrades, new construction set to begin in June – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A series of multimillion-dollar construction projects at Vacaville High will begin in earnest just days after the Class of 2016 graduates, Principal Ed Santopadre said Monday.

Funded under Measure A, expansion of the school’s student parking lot, plus a new visitors lot, and the relocation of tennis courts likely will begin June 7, three days after commencement, he said.

Those projects, estimated to cost some $5 million, according to a Vacaville Unified project list, will be completed in early August, in time for the new academic year at the 100 W. Monte Vista Ave. campus, said Santopadre.

He said plans are to add some 60 student parking spaces, in an area where the school’s existing tennis courts are, and some 12 visitor spaces just a few steps from the main office. Eight new tennis courts will be moved to an area just east of the existing courts, which are adjacent to Zunino Stadium.

Source: Vaca High upgrades, new construction set to begin in June

Dreamers and innovators drawn to Benicia Mini Makers Faire – Times Herald

By Matthew Adkins

Benicia Middle School was the setting of the annual Benicia Makers Faire Saturday.

A celebration of ingenuity and creativity, the event was a chance for children and adults to explore the world of crafts, electronics and engineering.

Aaron Newcomb, president of Benicia Makers Space, explained the event took about six months of work to organize.

“We did all the planning and everything, then we contacted local makers and people we know who like to do this and invited them to come at no charge,” Newcomb said. “A lot of people are here because they love what they do. It’s a community event run by volunteers, and so far it’s gone pretty well.”

Source: Dreamers and innovators drawn to Benicia Mini Makers Faire

Science is cool at Solano County STEM Fair – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

President Obama vowed in his first term to make science “cool,” and he has made good on his word.

Consider that he decorated the Oval Office with patent models of well-known scientific inventions and, on Wednesday, hosted his sixth and final White House Science Fair, featuring the robots, spacecraft, toys made from 3-D printers, and other assorted flabbergasting gizmos cobbled together by more than 100 young students from across the nation.

Source: Science is cool at Solano County STEM Fair