An Academic Use for Social Media | Edutopia

By Rusul Alrubail

If we look at digital literacy and its implementation in the classroom for the past 10 years, we can see the impact on students’ writing and communication skills.

In an online survey by the Pew Research Center on the impact of digital tools on students’ writing, half the teachers who responded said that digital tools made it easier for students to write and that when using digital tools, students were more engaged and motivated to write.In another survey, 40 percent of teachers said that their students already shared their work publicly using wikis, blogs, and websites, and that those students were also adept at micro-writing, a mode that uses different digital platforms to convey, describe, and analyze thoughts and opinions and share them with a particular audience in short forms.

Source: An Academic Use for Social Media | Edutopia

Early Edge California appoints new executive director to lead early education efforts | EdSource

By Ashley Hopkinson

One of the state’s leading child advocacy organizations, Early Edge California, has appointed a new executive director.

Patricia Lozano will succeed Deborah Kong, who has been executive director since January 2014. Lozano has extensive experience in early childhood policy and research, as well as dual language education. She will continue the organization’s work in promoting increased access early education and steering policy strategies to attract and retain a quality early education workforce for California, according to a statement.Patricia Lozano has been appointed the new executive director of Early Edge California.

“We are thrilled that Patricia Lozano is taking the helm at Early Edge,” said Catherine Atkin, chair of the Early Edge California Advisory Committee and executive director of The Early Learning Lab. “As Early Edge California’s advocacy and policy for quality early learning grows, she brings a deep commitment to supporting educators and improving the early care and education of California’s children.”

Source: Early Edge California appoints new executive director to lead early education efforts | EdSource

Surprise administrative churn in Dixon Unified – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

With the unexpected decision of a senior Dixon Unified manager, there is a new but familiar face in district offices and a new but equally familiar face in the principal’s office at Dixon High.

Superintendent Brian Dolan late last week named longtime Dixon High Principal Nick Girimonte to replace Mike Walbridge, who, in an unexpected move, resigned as assistant superintendent of educational services to relocate his family to Southern California. At the same time, Dolan elevated Dixon High Assistant Principal Stephanie Marquez to replace Girimonte.

Source: Surprise administrative churn in Dixon Unified

Summer school programs still needed – Daily Republic

By Mayrene Bates

My children were fortunate enough when they were in school to attend summer school programs.

My oldest son recalls that he really started to understand and like mathematics when he took math classes for two straight summers at Fairfield High School. Today, he is an IT administrator and can run circles around me in math and technology. To think, it all started when he decided – on his own – that he might be able to make better grades in math if he attended summer school.

Growing up in rural Tennessee, there was no summer school, no Girl Scouts organizations or public libraries open to me. So, every year when September rolled around, I was ecstatic and could hardly wait for school to begin, even if I had to ride a shirt factory worker’s bus 32 miles round trip every day – though there was a high school much closer to my home.

Source: Summer school programs still needed

State could reap big economic benefits with later school start time | EdSource

By Theresa Harrington

While California legislators debate a bill to ban secondary schools from starting before 8:30 a.m., a new report shows the change could contribute $10.2 billion to the state’s economy within 10 years and $24.8 billion after two decades.

In fact, if all schools nationwide were to convert to this later start time, the RAND Corporation and RAND Europe found that the U.S. economy would get an $83 billion boost within a decade.

The RAND report released Wednesday is the first-ever economic analysis of 47 states based on a shift in school start times. It is a follow-up to research by RAND Europe in 2016 that found insufficient sleep among U.S. workers causes economic losses of up to $411 billion a year.

Source: State could reap big economic benefits with later school start time | EdSource

Benicia High graduates try to stay safe in middle of Hurricane Harvey – Times Herald

By Thomas Gase

This weekend Tropical Storm Harvey strengthened into a hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico and eventually made landfall near Corpus Christi, Tex. on Friday night. The hurricane was classified as Category 4 as winds reached 130 mph. The hurricane became a Category 3 and eventually caused wreckage from Corpus Christi to Houston.

Houston is right in the middle of where Benicia High graduates Chanler Powell and Cassidy Jannson are attending college at Texas Southern University.

During the last four days, Jannson, a star volleyball player at the school and a two-time Solano County Athletic Conference MVP at Benicia, has been living with Powell in her apartment complex. Powell is a star softball player for the Tigers. She helped Benicia win a Sac-Joaquin Section title as infielder in 2014.

Although Powell and Jannson are currently safe and have electricity in the apartment (about a five-minute drive away from the campus in Harris County), their location has been right in the middle of the storm.

Source: Benicia High graduates try to stay safe in middle of Hurricane Harvey

Among local schools, Kairos leads way in Hurricane Harvey relief – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The leader of Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy on Tuesday said students are being encouraged to aid Hurricane Harvey disaster victims by donating money to the Houston Food Bank, becoming the first school in Vacaville to formally begin relief efforts to help people affected by the unprecedented Texas Gulf Coast storm and subsequent flooding.

Jared Austin, the co-founder and executive director of the TK-8 independent charter school, which is aligned with Vacaville Unified, said the effort is in keeping with the school’s mission of preparing its 550 students to be responsible citizens.

“We want to use this disaster to show our scholars how they can help make a difference in tragic times,” Austin said in a press release. “The Houston Food Bank is working very hard to support the huge needs of all the families affected in the Houston area.”

He said the school’s Innovative Scholars Foundation will be collecting tax-deductible donations of any amount during this week and next.

Source: Among local schools, Kairos leads way in Hurricane Harvey relief

How To Counter Back-To-School Anxiety : NPR Ed

By Elissa Nadworny

The start of the school year can be rough on some kids. It’s a big shift from summer’s freedom and lack of structure to the measured routines of school. And sometimes that can build up into tears, losing sleep, outbursts and other classic signs of anxiety.

“Going back to school is a transition for everyone,” says Lynn Bufka, a practicing psychologist who also works at the American Psychological Association. “No matter the age of the child, or if they’ve been to school before.”

In the vast majority of cases, this is pretty standard stuff. It doesn’t mean it’s not painful — for you and your kids. Just watch this viral video — (Andrew is now in first grade and doing fine).

“If you see that in your kids, don’t panic,” says John Kelly, a school psychologist in Long Island, N.Y. “For most kids, there’s gonna be some level of anxiety.”

Source: How To Counter Back-To-School Anxiety : NPR Ed : NPR

What to do with $35M for Markham Elementary? – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified leaders plan to hold a community stakeholder meeting about a recommended proposal to spend $35 million in Measure A dollars to modernize and upgrade Markham Elementary.

The governing board discussed the matter during a facilities planning workshop Friday in the Educational Services Center.

At the end of the nearly 2 1/2-hour workshop, the meeting was set for Sept. 12 at the Markham Avenue campus, but, on Monday, Jennifer Leonard, the district’s public information officer, said in a text message that no date had been set because she was unable to get confirmation from trustees and district staffers, despite several of them appearing to agree Friday on the Sept. 12 date.

Source: What to do with $35M for Markham Elementary?

California delays release of Smarter Balanced scores | EdSource

By John Fensterwald

The California Department of Education has postponed the release of statewide results of the Smarter Balanced assessments in math and reading, which were to be published on Tuesday.

The department announced the delay Friday, citing a “recently identified data issue.” It offered no more details and did not set a new date for the release. The department had said the results would be released in September, then earlier this month pushed the date up to Aug. 29. Last year, the department released the scores on Aug. 24. In 2015, the first year of the full test, scores were released on Sept. 9.

School districts have had access to their own results for several weeks. And many parents already have received a report on their children’s individual scores, with a comparison with last year’s results.

Source: California delays release of Smarter Balanced scores | EdSource

Three Vacaville teens propose VUSD go solar – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

An enrichment program on solar energy sparked three students from different Vacaville high schools to combine forces and propose an alternative energy source for the Vacaville Unified School District.

“We just want to make a change,” said Sergio Maciel, 16, from Will C. Wood High School, of the solar panels his group hopes to have installed within the district.

It’s all about efficiency and protecting the environment, added Holly Andersen, 17, from Vacaville High.

The pair emphasize that while their goal may be lofty, it’s nonetheless doable if taken one property at a time.

The friends — including Natalie LaRowe, 17, of Buckingham Charter, who was unavailable for comment — met awhile back through the SunPower Solar Academy, a five-day venture for high schoolers involving the teamwork application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) toward designing a solar start-up for residences. From the environment to design to finances, the youths learn a bit of everything and factor them into a presentation given to officials, including solar representatives, by program’s end.

Source: Three Vacaville teens propose VUSD go solar

Higher education options abound throughout Solano County – Daily Republic

The list of available colleges to pursue a higher education in or near Solano County is plentiful for area residents.

The colleges give prospective students the opportunity to initiate higher education, pad their resume by expanding their knowledge, update an existing degree, learn a vocational trade or increase their current upper education degree by obtaining a master’s or doctorate.

Source: Higher education options abound throughout Solano County

Understanding the Common Core State Standards in California: A quick guide | EdSource

By Theresa Harrington

Although the State Board of Education adopted new Common Core standards in math and English language arts nearly seven years ago, some school districts are still in the process of implementing them.

Forty-one other states around the country have also adopted the standards, which were created to help U.S. students compete with high school graduates from around the world for 21st Century jobs.

Tests of California students show progress has been made over the past two years, but an achievement gap between low-income students and their wealthier peers remains, along with gaps between higher-scoring Asian and white students and lower-scoring African-American and Latino classmates.

Source: Understanding the Common Core State Standards in California: A quick guide | EdSource

Denied in Vacaville USD, charter leader petitions SCOE – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Leaders of Heritage Peak Charter School in downtown Vacaville, their petition denied less than two months ago by Vacaville Unified trustees, are now seeking to align the independent study learning center with the Solano County Office of Education.

Paul Keefer, who heads the Sacramento-based Pacific Charter Institute, the operator of several independent charter schools, most of them in the Sacramento area, presented a petition for newly named Pacific Valley Charter during a public hearing Wednesday night at county education offices in Fairfield.

The SCOE governing board will either approve or deny Keefer’s petition at a Sept. 13 meeting at the county agency’s 5100 Business Center Drive offices.

Source: Denied in Vacaville Unified School District, charter leader petitions county ed board

Grants available for Solano’s K-12 teachers – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Money for some school programs generally is hard to come by and it may be more difficult to get if the Trump administration’s 2018 federal budget proposal, which will slash $9 billion from the Department of Education, is approved,

In the meantime, with area school districts starting the new academic year, the Solano Community Foundation has made available money for Solano County K-12 students in public schools.

Money from the foundation’s Education Plus! Grant Program supports classroom projects, after-school, and mentoring programs. Teachers and educators with innovative programs may apply for the financial support, Samantha Fordyce, the foundation’s development associate, wrote in a press release.

The program’s focus is two-fold: 1) development of grade-level reading skills, preferably by the end of the third grade; and 2) attainment of math skills to allow proper course placement at ninth grade. However, the foundation will fund projects that work toward achieving or improving reading and math skills for K-12 students at all levels, noted Fordyce.

Source: Grants available for Solano’s K-12 teachers

Vacaville Unified School District leaders to hold facilities planning workshop tonight – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A likely update of Measure A projects and related construction plans for the coming years in Vacaville Unified are on the agenda when district leaders meet for a special governing board workshop tonight in Vacaville.

Trustees will discuss facilities planning for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 years, pending major upgrades to many of the district’s 18 campuses, about half of them 50 years old or older, and several of those more than 60 years old.

To date, most of the major Measure A projects have occurred at Vacaville High, where the school’s parking lot has been expanded and tennis courts relocated and resurfaced.

When classes began last week, students and faculty entered a new $10 million, 15-classroom English building. To the west, a stone’s throw away, construction continues apace for a new 15-classroom math building, which is expected to open in the days immediately after Christmas break.

Source: Vacaville Unified School District leaders to hold facilities planning workshop tonight

Kairos Public School offers way to recycle solar eclipse eyewear – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

OK, so maybe you know of some solar eclipse eyewear lying around collecting dust and won’t be used again in the United States until 2024.

But they could be used again elsewhere, as soon as 2019.

To that end, students at Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy are seeking donations of used eclipse glasses, to donate to Astronomers Without Borders, an organization which will distribute them, as needed, to school students in the path of the next total solar eclipse, in two years, in Asia and South America.

“This will provide an opportunity for scholars in developing countries to safely view a future eclipse,” Jared Austin, the independent charter school’s co-founder and executive director, noted in an email to The Reporter.

Source: Kairos Public School offers way to recycle solar eclipse eyewear

Official predicts another year of ‘awesome professional development’ for Fairfield-Suisun schools – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Programs in a Saturday Speakers Series were among 559 professional development events last year in the Fairfield-Suisun School District, said a report that trustees took up Thursday.

Speakers included Doug Curry on Llama Training: Exceptional Classroom Management, and Tina Schuler talking about building student-teacher relationships. Jeff Zwiers, co-author of the book “Academic Conversations,” also spoke as part of the Saturday series.

“Throughout history, conversations have allowed us to see different perspectives, build ideas and solve problems,” states the website of the book publisher. “Conversations, particularly those referred to in this book as academic conversations, push students to think and learn in lasting ways.”

Source: Official predicts another year of ‘awesome professional development’ for Fairfield-Suisun schools

Using PBL to Meet C3 Social Studies Standards | Edutopia

By Andrew Miller

Schools within the United States and around the world are in the process of adopting the new College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards, or C3. These standards seek to upgrade existing standards in the states, districts, and schools and to help strengthen the rigor of social studies education.

Our students are naturally curious, and the C3 framework works to foster that curiosity in the implementation of standards with a heavy focus on inquiry. Indeed, it’s easy to find resources that have “Inquiries” aligned to the C3 framework. Examples include kindergarten students investigating “Needs and Wants” using the question “Can we ever get everything we want?” and 10th graders using the question “Does development mean progress?” as they learn about the African countries of Kenya, Botswana, and Algeria.

Source: Using PBL to Meet C3 Social Studies Standards | Edutopia

Choosing a Curriculum: A Critical Act – Education Next

By David Steiner

An education system without an effective instructional core is like a car without a working engine: It can’t fulfill its function. No matter how much energy and money we spend working on systemic issues – school choice, funding, assessments, accountability, and the like – not one of these policies educates children. That is done only through curriculum and teachers: the material we teach and how effectively we teach it.

Education reformers have grasped the importance of one-half of this core: teacher quality. Indeed, one of the most contentious education reforms of the last decade was the effort, spearheaded in the federal Race to the Top initiative, to create accountability around teachers’ performance. More recently, federal initiatives and major foundations have begun to focus on the caliber of teacher preparation, with states such as Delaware and Louisiana taking the lead in evaluating the quality of schools of education. At the same time, we have seen the multiplication of clinical residency programs across the country, a strategy based on the medical model of training doctors.

Source: Choosing a Curriculum: A Critical Act – Education Next : Education Next