By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano Community College District earned a recent improved credit rating from Standard & Poor’s (S&P), up to “AA” from a previous score of “AA-,” the district announced, Friday.
At the same time, S&P Global Ratings assigned its “AA” rating to the District’s election of 2012, series C GO bonds, affirming the stable outlook. Moody’s Investor Services also provided their assessment, re-affirming the college with their “Aa3” rating.
These ratings are utilized in the purchase of bonds and other fixed income investments. In general, the better the rating, the lower the borrowing costs, the district explained.
Source: Solano College earns credit rating upgrade from S&P
By Nick Sestanovich
On Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Torlakson announced that 275 California middle and high schools were being recognized as part of the state’s Gold Ribbon Schools Award Program. Among them are Benicia Middle School and Benicia High School.The Gold Ribbon program honors schools throughout the state while the previous program, California Distinguished Schools, is on hiatus as the state creates new assessment programs. Schools throughout California applied based on standards-based activities, strategies projects, programs or practices that serve as models that other schools can follow.
“These terrific schools are leading the way in embracing our new rigorous academic standards and showing others how to help students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said in a statement.
Of the thousands of secondary schools in California, 477 applied in 2016. Of these, 275 received the honor, including Benicia Middle and Benicia High.
Source: Benicia High, Benicia Middle honored as exemplary California secondary schools
By Katy St. Clair
Both Benicia High and Benicia Middle School were two of six Solano County schools to be selected for 2017’s “California Gold Ribbon” recognition.
Gold Ribbon schools are designated by the California Department of Education and represent what it considers exemplars of “best practices” in education.
“This is a tremendous honor and well-deserved recognition for these schools,” Solano County Superintendent Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement.
Schools apply for the honor and are whittled down after meeting “rigorous” criteria, according to Assistant Superintendent for Solano County Victor Romualdi.
Source: Benicia High, Benicia Middle honored with ‘Gold Ribbon’ awards – Times Herald
By Katy St. Clair
It can be a special sacrifice for a teenager to part with their hair, but for 16 Benicia High School students, handing over their locks for a good cause was more important.
The high school kids gathered at the quad during Wednesday’s lunch hour to “Make The Cut,” a charity event that donates healthy hair to make wigs for cancer patients.
The event was coordinated by senior Clare Rodgers, who first organized it as a junior.
She is working in conjunction with the hair care company Pantene, which runs the larger hair-donation charity known as “Beautiful Lengths.”
Last year, seven students stepped up to have their hair lopped off, Rodgers said. This year the number has doubled, with 14 people signing up and two more donating hair from recent trips to the salon.
In order to contribute, students had to be willing to part with at least 8 inches of hair, but some students were willing to give up as many as 13 inches.
Source: Benicia High School chops off locks for good cause
By Ian Thompson
Wednesday was a bad day to be a weed at the urban garden being cultivated by some of the Travis Air Force Base Youth Center’s children.
Six-year-olds Jaxon Dieball and Keegan Reinhard were two of eight children getting the raised garden beds next to the center ready for a visit from judges for a basewide best urban garden contest as well as a best watermelon contest.
“This is a great opportunity to get outdoors and to have that opportunity to care for the Earth,” Youth Center Director Carrie Basaca said.
Source: Travis base starts Earth Day early with urban garden contest
By Kelli Germeraad
On Saturday, April 8, the Vacaville Veterans Organizations and Auxiliaries hosted a “Celebration of Service” to honor fifteen years of community service excellence by the Vanden High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) to the Vacaville veteran’s community.
It was an event that included cadets and their parents currently in the program; past alumni of the program; instructors Lt. Colonel Billy Lakes, Major Marian Collins and MSgt. Hollis Huvar, as well as some special invited guests.
The veteran’s hall was a sea of green and gold, fifteen years of pictures, posters and memorabilia. Volunteers on the committee scanned some 400 plus photos of the past in order to highlight a continued service to area veterans and their families. You could not walk in to the main hall at the veterans building and not be overwhelmed by the veteran’s gratitude to this group of young people who may have set out to earn ribbons and medals for community service, and instead provided life changing support to a community.
Source: Vanden JROTC honored for service – The Reporter
Hundreds of Solano County students will strap on safety helmets and pedal to school May 10 — National Bike to School Day.
The annual event focuses attention on the physical and environmental benefits of biking or walking to school instead of commuting by car.
In 2016, 26 elementary and middle schools throughout Solano County participated in the Solano Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program to promote Bike to School Day and this year high schools are invited to participate.
Along with promoting safety, SR2S aims to improve children’s health by increasing their daily physical activity by walking and biking to school. SR2S staff works with schools and parents to organize Walking School Buses and daily or weekly walking programs. The program also conducts traffic safety assemblies, bike safety rodeos and helmet fittings in Solano County schools.
Source: Students ready for National Bike to School Day
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano County Office of Education will honor 13 school district employees who have been selected as 2017-18 educators of the year.
The celebration will begin at 5:15 p.m. May 2 at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center at 611 Village Drive in Suisun City.
One educator will also be selected as Solano County’s nominee for the state educator of the year.
Source: Event set in Suisun to honor Solano educators
By Todd R. Hansen
Six Solano schools have been designated as California Gold Ribbon Schools, the county Office of Education reported Wednesday.
Armijo, Benicia and Elise P. Buckingham Charter Magnet high schools were selected by the state Department of Education for the honor, as were the Public Safety Academy, and the Benicia and Green Valley middle schools.
Additionally, Benicia Middle School received an award for being a Title I Academic Achieving School.
Source: Six Solano schools earn golden grades from state
By Jonathan Kaplan
As we blogged about recently, President Trump’s budget blueprint for federal “discretionary” spending proposes significant cuts to a range of key public systems and services. While this so-called “skinny budget” lacks important details, it calls for eliminating two K-12 education programs and, by doing so, would reduce the funding available to every California school district as well as to many community-based organizations across the state. California is estimated to receive more than $365 million for these two programs in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2017, which began October 1, 2016: $252 million for Supporting Effective Instruction (SEI) State Grants (also known as “Title II, Part A” funds), which aim in part to increase the number of educators and advance their quality and effectiveness; and $114 million for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before- and after-school as well as summer school programs. Although these two federal funding streams represent just a fraction of the $74.5 billion overall that is budgeted for K-12 education in California in 2016-17 (the state fiscal year that began July 1, 2016), their elimination would disproportionately affect students from low-income families because dollars for these programs are targeted to these learners.
Source: President Trump’s Proposal to Eliminate Federal Support for Certain K-12 Programs Would Hurt Economically Disadvantaged Students in Every Part of California – California Budget & Policy Center
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that 275 middle schools and high schools are being honored under the Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program.
The list of recognized schools is attached at the end of this press release.
“These terrific schools are leading the way in embracing our new rigorous academic standards and showing others how to help students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said. “I look forward to travelling the state to honor these schools and to help share the programs, methods, and techniques that are working.”
The California Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program, which is on hiatus while California creates new assessment, accountability, and continuous improvement systems. 477 middle schools and high schools applied this year.
Schools applied for the award based on a model program or practice their school has adopted that includes standards-based activities, projects, strategies, and practices that can be replicated by other local educational agencies. The award acknowledged elementary schools last year.
Source: Torlakson Announces 2017 CA Gold Ribbon Schools – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Nick Sestanovich
This Sunday, Benicians will once again come together for a run to raise money for Benicia’s schools as part of the Benicia Education Foundation’s Run for Education. This year is a little more special than most: it is the event’s 10th year.
The run had humble beginnings in 2008 when some BEF board members came up with the idea of a marathon fundraiser. The initial event drew only 200 runners and five sponsors: Raley’s, Courtyard Customs, Valero Benicia Refinery, Umpqua Bank and Benicia Magazine, then known as Inside Benicia. The latter three companies have continually sponsored the run for 10 years, Race Director Lisa Koenen said.
By 2010, the event had blossomed to more than 1,000 runners and more than 20 sponsors. Eventually, the foundation had to install more portable bathrooms, more volunteers and new systems to accommodate the growing crowds. The event has only become more successful. Last year saw 700 runners turn up despite rainy weather for the first time in the run’s history. Organizers say the forecast is looking sunny and registration numbers so far are actually higher than last year.
Source: Benicia Run for Education celebrates 10 years
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson Tuesday announced that 275 middle schools and high schools are being honored under the Gold Ribbon Schools Awards Program.
Among the award winners is Buckingham Charter Magnet High School of the Vacaville Unified School District. The list also includes Armijo High School, Green Valley Middle School and the Public Safety Academy of the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. Benicia High School and Benicia Middle School are also honored.
“These terrific schools are leading the way in embracing our new rigorous academic standards and showing others how to help students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said in a press release. “I look forward to travelling the state to honor these schools and to help share the programs, methods, and techniques that are working.”
Source: Buckingham honored among Gold Ribbon Schools
By Mikhail Zinshteyn
Charter school supporters are applauding a state senator’s decision to table a bill that would have allowed only school districts to approve new charter petitions.
The bill’s author, State Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, said Monday he will not ask the Senate Education Committee to vote on the bill next week when it was due to come up for consideration.
Mendoza said he remains behind the concept of the bill, which would greatly restrict how charters appeal district-level refusals to their county offices of education and remove the state Board of Education from the process altogether.
Source: California bill that would restrict charter school approvals stalls in Sacramento | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
In an age of increasing technology, the value of handwriting has surfaced as a topic of debate in American academic circles. The overriding question is, does it matter anymore? After all, “keyboarding,” or touch typing, begins in second grade in many schools, and, a year later, third-graders begin to take all-computerized state standardized tests?
Perhaps not very much to some educators.
Case in point: In October, 2015, Carolyn Thomas, a digital education specialist at Fairmont Elementary in Vacaville, told The Reporter that teachers no longer teach cursive handwriting at the Marshall Road campus. I have been thinking about her statement ever since.
However, the Common Core State Standards, which most states have adopted, call for teaching legible writing in grades K-1 but not necessarily afterward. States are permitted to add an additional 15 percent of their own standards as they see fit. Several states, including California, Massachusetts, North Carolina and South Carolina, decided to make cursive instruction mandatory as part of their standards enhancements.
Source: In the ‘keyboarding’ era, will handwriting skills fade?
By Evie Blad
California schools saw an increase in fully vaccinated incoming students after the state passed a law restricting so-called philosophical opt-outs from immunization mandates, new data show.
According to the California Department of Public Health:
“Compared to the 2015-2016 school year, the proportion of students attending kindergarten in 2016-2017 reported to have received all required vaccines rose from 92.8% to 95.6%, a 2.8 percentage point increase over one year and a 5.2 percentage point increase over the two years since 2014-2015. The 2016-2017 rate of 95.6% is the highest reported for the current set of immunization requirements for kindergarten, which began in the 2001-2002 school year.”
The agency also reported increases in rates of students who’d received individual vaccines.
Source: More California Students Vaccinated After Change in Law, Data Show – Rules for Engagement – Education Week
By Theresa Harrington
Changes are underway to fix flaws in tests designed to help teachers pinpoint student weaknesses before they take Common Core–aligned assessments each spring.
The tests, known as “interim assessments,” are similar to the end-of-the year Smarter Balanced assessments that are used to assess student achievement and progress, as well as that of their schools and districts, in math and English language arts. More than 3 million California students take the Smarter Balanced assessments each year.
Many teachers have given the optional interim tests to their students during the school year to gauge how they are doing, hoping to adjust what or how they teach in advance of the final assessments that are used to fulfill state and federal accountability requirements.
Source: Teacher complaints lead to improvements in state tests | EdSource
By Ryan McCarthy
The book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is among works planned to be added in the fall of 2017 in some Fairfield-Suisun School District classes.
Lacks’ cells, taken without her knowledge in 1951, were used in helping to develop the polio vaccine, cloning and gene mapping.
The non-fiction work would be a supplementary book in advanced placement language and composition classes in the school district.
Trustees will take up adoption of the book at their May 25 meeting.
Source: Lacks book among works eyed for school classes
By Nick Sestanovich
Ten years ago, BASS (Bay Area Surgical Specialists) Medical Group was formed to provide state-of-the-art medical care through a variety of offices and doctors located throughout Northern California. One of its more than 150 surgeons is Dr. Benjamin Busfield, an orthopedic surgeon with offices in Antioch, Brentwood and Walnut Creek, but it was Benicia that he originally called home.
Busfield grew up in Benicia, having attended its schools and even delivered the Benicia Herald on his Rose Drive route from the age of 10 to the age of 18. Busfield graduated from Benicia High School in 1992 and credited then-physiology teacher Brian Kelly with giving him a love for sports medicine.
“He just got me to love physiology, which has direct applications to medicine,” Busfield said.Busfield went on to get a bachelor’s degree in physiology at the University of California, Davis; a masters in physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University where he also got his medical degree. He also did a year of sports medicine fellowship training at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, where he provided orthopedic assistance to several of the area’s professional sports teams, including the L.A. Dodgers, Lakers, Kings and Sparks and the Anaheim Ducks.
Source: Benicia High grad treats orthopedic injuries in East Bay
By Susan Hiland
The Armijo High School gym was filled to capacity Thursday with plenty of cheering as a show of support for the Special Olympics Track and Field competition.
Originally planned for the track outside, rain chased everyone into the gym where special education students from the Fairfield-Suisun School District were paired with partners from Armijo High.
“This is the first year we have hosted this,” said Carly Perales, athletic director for Armijo.
It was standing room only in the gym – one side had students from classes and the other side had guests from special education classes from across the district.
Source: Special day for special children at Armijo High School