First-day jitters, high spirits, class rules – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A new pack on his back, Mikkel Garcia, 5, of Vacaville, trudged along Cambridge Drive late Wednesday morning, his father, Alan, and grandmother, Carole, beside him.

A fan of video games, his long hair in two braids, the incoming Cambridge Elementary kindergartner — clad in a black T-shirt with tuxedo imagery over black shorts and black tennis shoes, all new — made his way to Kathryn Carter-Stewart’s classroom at 11:30 a.m., 10 minutes before the first bell of the Cambridge Drive school’s afternoon kindergarten session.

“He’s nervous,” said the elder Garcia, the father of two other Cambridge students.

Source: First-day jitters, high spirits, class rules

Travis district starts school year on upbeat note – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

A proud Koreshia McLemore lined up her son, Vanden High School freshman Isaiah, with a couple of his friends before taking the picture.

“I just want to cry,” McLemore said, dropping her son off for his first day of high school, “but I am not worried about him at all.”

McLemore said her son had already started his day helping with the school’s Senior Sunrise, a school tradition where the school’s senior class gets to school at about 3 a.m. to greet the sun.

“He will have a long day today, probably not getting home until 8 p.m.,” she said, referring to his after-school football practice.

The McLemores were just two of several thousand parents and students present for the start of the Travis School District’s 2017-18 school year Wednesday.

Source: Travis district starts school year on upbeat note

It’s Not Students We Need To Educate About STEM Careers, It’s Their Teachers – Forbes

By Nick Morrison

The shortage of STEM graduates is often laid at the door of students making their high school subject choices, but perhaps it’s not students we need to educate about STEM careers, it’s their teachers.

More than a quarter of male teachers – and one in six female teachers – believe STEM careers are more suited to boys than girls, according to a new survey.

And this attitude rubs off on students, with twice as many girls as boys believing that STEM careers are not for them.

The shortage of students graduating in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects has been a persistent story in recent years, with one report claiming an annual shortfall of 40,000 skilled STEM workers in the U.K. alone.

Source: It’s Not Students We Need To Educate About STEM Careers, It’s Their Teachers

A Textbook Dilemma: Digital or Paper? | MindShift

By Claudia Wallis

My friend Joanne was packing her youngest child off to college this month and wrestling with a modern dilemma: Is it better to buy textbooks in digital form or old-fashioned print? One of her son’s professors was recommending an online text for a business course: lighter, always accessible and seriously cheaper ($88 vs. $176 for a 164-page book). But Joanne’s instinct was that her son would “learn better” from a printed volume, free of online distractions, and with pages he could dog-ear, peruse in any order, and inscribe with marginal notes. Her son was inclined to agree.

Many of us book lovers cherish the tactile qualities of print, but some of this preference is emotional or nostalgic. Do reading and note-taking on paper offer any measurable advantages for learning? Given the high cost of hard-backed textbooks, is it wiser to save the money and the back strain by going digital?

Source: A Textbook Dilemma: Digital or Paper? | MindShift | KQED News

Developer fees study on Fairfield-Suisun school agenda Thursday – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders will face a relatively light agenda when they meet Thursday night in Fairfield.

There will be a public hearing about a resolution to adopt a developer fee justification study, followed by a trustee vote on the matter, specifically on Level I fees.

By law, California school district governing boards may levy a fee against a developer who builds within a respective district to pay for school construction and related infrastructure in order to accommodate potential growth.

Three levels of developer fees are allowed.

The minimum, aka Level I, is adjusted every two years. In order to assess the fee, a school district must document its justification with a study that, according to agenda documents, “demonstrates a reasonable relationship between residential, commercial and industrial development in the district and the need for additional school facilities.”

Source: Developer fees study on Fairfield-Suisun school agenda Thursday

Measure S director: Finishing touches being put on Benicia High stadium – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

The renovation of Benicia High School’s George Drolette Stadium has just a little more work to be done before it can be opened for use, according to an update provided by Measure S Bond Director Roxanne Egan on the voter-approved initiative at Thursday’s school board meeting.In 2014, Benicia residents voted to approve a ballot initiative that would provide $49.6 million in bond funding for improvements at each of the Benicia Unified School District’s seven schools. One of the largest projects to be funded was a remodel of Benicia High’s football and soccer stadium and track & field, including such changes as a new 8-lane all-weather track, upgraded lighting and new bleachers.

The previous stadium had been demolished in July 2016, and a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facilities was held one month later. Construction was expected to be completed in the spring, but several delays in construction— including one of the wettest winter seasons in a long time— pushed its potential opening back to the fall. A grand opening ceremony was slated for August, but Egan said more work remains to be done.Further work includes completing painting on the team room buildings— including blue striping and yellow trim, painting a Benicia Panthers logo on the backside of the press box, custom painting the restroom building and applying stucco to the concession building.However, Egan noted that a lot of work has been done in the last couple of months, including applying stucco to the restroom building, adding color to the press box and adding lettering to the track. Egan said the last item was a good symbolic representation for the current stage of the project.

Source: Measure S director: Finishing touches being put on Benicia High stadium

Vallejo school board opposes bell time legislation – Times Herald

By John Glidden

The Vallejo school board voted Wednesday to send a resolution to Sacramento opposing Senate Bill 328 which would require middle and high schools to begin the school day no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

Introduced last February by State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D) — La Cañada Flintridge, in Los Angeles County — the legislation, if approved, stipulates that districts must comply with the law before July 1, 2020.

Board Vice President Burky Worel said the Vallejo City Unified School District, along with other districts, will lose local control over the issue if the bill becomes law.

“The state is trying to mandate yet another thing to every district,” Worel said.

Worel said “each community is different.”

“If we want to come earlier that is our choice,” Worel added.

Source: Vallejo school board opposes bell time legislation

New bus service to help Vallejo students, Benicia ferry riders announced – Times Herald

In an effort to make life easier for students who commute by bus from south Vallejo to Jesse Bethel High School, Soltrans has made some route changes, agency officials announced.

Starting Sunday, the new Route 38 operates one morning trip on school weekdays to supplement existing service on Routes 3 and 8 for students attending Jesse Bethel High School, officials said.

The trip begins at Glen Cove at 7 a.m. and arrives at Bethel at 7:30 a.m. and Gateway Plaza at 7:36 a.m., they said.

An additional outbound trip from the Vallejo Transit Center to Glen Cove has been on added to Route 3 during days Vallejo schools are in session, they said.

Once in Glen Cove, this added bus will continue as the new

Source: New bus service to help Vallejo students, Benicia ferry riders announced

Dixon youths view the path of the eclipse – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

More than 100 students descended on the basketball court Monday at Gretchen Higgins Elementary in Dixon, specially-altered boxes of Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Eggo Waffles and FedEx stuck to their faces.

The aim — to view the historic “Great American Eclipse,” viewable in totality in certain areas across the nation but only as a partial eclipse in Northern California.

Practically vibrating with excitement, the pint-sized fifth and sixth graders, armed with their special viewing boxes, took turns at spaces around the court to watch the eclipse from different angles.

Source: Dixon youths view the path of the eclipse

Education Plus! grants available to public schools – Daily Republic

Solano Community Foundation’s Education Plus! Grant Program has funds available for classroom projects, after-school and mentoring programs in all Solano County public schools.

The program supports development of grade-level reading skills, preferably by the end of the third grade, and development of math skills for proper course placement at ninth grade, the foundation reported.

Approximately 20,000 students have benefitted from this program and close to $450,000 has been disbursed through more than 800 grants, the foundation reported.

Source: Education Plus! grants available to public schools

New Benicia High School bell schedule, special education model discussed at BUSD board meeting – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

Two of the biggest changes at Benicia High School this year are the adoption of a new bell schedule and the switch to a new special education model. Items on both were presented at Thursday’s school board meeting.

Bell schedule

The implementation of a new bell schedule at Benicia High has been in the works ever since it was suggested as a goal by a Western Association of Schools and Colleges visitation team more than two years ago. After two years of conducting research, soliciting feedback from the community and presenting various possibilities for a new schedule to go into effect in the 2017-2018 school year, Benicia High announced a new schedule in May. Rather than students having a non-rotating six-period schedule for all five days of the week, students will only have that schedule for three days of the week. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, students will have a block schedule consisting of three 86-minute classes each day. Odd-numbered classes will meet on Wednesdays, even-numbered classes will meet on Thursdays, and school will end for students 30 minutes earlier.

Source: New Benicia High School bell schedule, special education model discussed at Thursday’s school board meeting

Benicia Heads Back to Class: What’s new, what to expect  – Benicia Herald

By Nick Sestanovich

As indicated by the cooler weather and flood of advertisements for school supplies, summer is winding down. On Monday, Aug. 21, Benicia students at all grade levels will head back to school for the start of the 2017-2018 school year. However, no matter which school they are attending, all of Benicia Unified School District’s sites will have something different they did not have the year before, whether it is a new crop of teachers, new administrators, new construction or even a new schedule. The Herald recently caught up with the principals at all seven schools to let students know what they can expect as they start the new school year.

Source: Benicia Heads Back to Class: What’s new, what to expect at Benicia Unified’s 7 schools in 2017-2018

Pitcch In Foundation put the “backpacks” in “back to school” in Vallejo – Benicia

By Katy St. Clair

The morning was all “criss-cross applesauce” and smiles as the children at Dan Mini Elementary lined up to receive their new backpacks full of school supplies for the new year on Thursday.

“Yayyy!” exclaimed a second-grader, tightening her pack’s straps proudly.

The kids came in three groups to get their goodies, all provided by the Pitcch In Foundation, a nonprofit started by New York Yankees baseball player CC Sabathia and his family. Sabathia is a Vallejo native who has been giving back to kids here for eight years.

“It’s very exciting to know that every kid gets a backpack,” said Dan Mini Principal Heather Topacio. “They feel so proud. And we know we can count on it every year,” she said.

And every kid did indeed get a backpack, so that no one feels singled out for being in need more than others.

“This is fabulous,” said a second-grade teacher in passing, as she corralled her kids back to class. “We have students that don’t have basic supplies.”

Source: Pitcch In Foundation put the “backpacks” in “back to school” in Vallejo – Benicia

Impact of Measure A projects seen on first day of school – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The herald of the day was not the first bell, but white-painted letters on the back windshield of several cars — “Seniors c/o 2018” and “Seniors 2K18” — headed at 7:40 a.m. to Vacaville High, one of several campuses in Vacaville Unified undergoing major physical changes under Measure A, as the first hours of the new academic year began on a sweetly blue and cloudless Thursday.

The nearly 2,000 students at the West Monte Vista Avenue campus were in their seats by 7:50 a.m., including several hundred in the brand-new $10 million, 15-classroom English building, literally a stone’s throw from a similar building, for mathematics classes, to be completed by the December holiday break. Both projects, including earlier expansions and relocation of the school’s main parking lot and tennis courts, are funded by the $194 million bond measure passed by Vacaville Unified voters in 2014.

Source: Impact of Measure A projects seen on first day of school

Police teach public safety in Vacaville School District – Daily Republic

By Ryan McCarthy

Police officers will teach a public safety course at Vacaville and Will C. Wood high schools, where $33.5 million in construction is underway – while at Fairmont Charter School parents and their children gathered Thursday for the start of the school year.

Aneyda Zinky said she was telling her daughter Meghan, 10, about going back to school in Mexico City.

“It was a private school, so it was very strict,” Zinky remembered.

Meghan was looking forward to the books, computers, music and P.E. class at Fairmont, the charter school that opened in 2009 at its Marshall Road site.

Source: Police teach public safety in Vacaville School District, which adds new way to grade

7 books that will help ease the back-to-school transition – Daily Republic

By The Washington Post

A brother and sister approach the end of summer differently – the girl is excited for school to start and the brother would rather just stay home. Even after describing the new subjects they’ll be studying and things they’ll do, the boy is adamant about not going to school: “I am going to play all day!/It doesn’t matter what you say.” His sister responds: “Recess is for playing games:/We’ll run and jump and climb!/Let’s go right now and join the fun./You really must not whine!” The sister’s enthusiasm never wanes and eventually the brother – seated at a chair and surrounded by friendly students in a cheerful classroom – discovers his sister was right all along. Bright, bold, detail-laden drawings paired with singsong rhymes create a perfect “turn-that-frown-upside down” story.

Source: 7 books that will help ease the back-to-school transition

Facebook chat to focus on concussions – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

High school sports are gearing up for the fall season, and with that comes the risk of concussions.

NorthBay Healthcare surgeon and Trauma medical director J. Peter Zopfi, D.O., will answer questions about concussion during the next #OurDocTalk chat at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on the NorthBay Facebook page.

#OurDocTalk is a series of live Facebook chats designed to connect NorthBay doctors with the community to answer questions on a variety of health issues.

Source: Facebook chat to focus on concussions

Vallejo students return to school – Times Herald

By John Glidden

Jitters and excitement on the first day of school aren’t just reserved for the kids.

“I don’t sleep the night before the first day of school,” Principal Kim Mitchell-Lewis confessed as kids and parents showed up to Annie Pennycook Elementary School Wednesday morning. “I get excited, like the kids.”

In her fifth year as principal, Mitchell-Lewis acted as traffic control, answering questions, and directing parents, students, and staff on where they needed to go.

Source: Vallejo students return to school

School supplies needed for “Fill My Ride” event – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

School may already have started, but that doesn’t mean that all students have everything they need for a successful academic year.

Which is where three Solano Business Network International (BNI) groups come in, as they’ve partnered to collect school supplies Aug. 25 and Aug. 27 during the “Fill My Ride” event. Items gathered from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at Sam’s Club (1500 Helen Power Drive) and from noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 27 at Wal-Mart (1501 Helen Power Drive) will go to Suisun Elementary School, Markham Elementary School and the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club.

The idea came on a whim, said Susan Schwartz, who oversees several BNI groups and volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club, but members were very excited to make it a reality.

“We’re really trying to show our community that BNI isn’t just about business. It’s about giving back to the community,” she said.

In the past, members also have participated in speed mentorships and other activities in support of youth.

Source: School Supplies Needed

Dixon USD trustees focuses on meal debt recovery plan, sixth-grade transition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A debt recovery plan for school lunch accounts, and updates on sixth-graders’ transition to C.A. Jacobs Intermediate School and the possibility of reconfiguring the district’s elementary school model are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight.

Melissa Mercado, the district’s new chief business officer, will lead the discussion on the food services department’s plans to get families to pay off meal debts.

The agenda item comes two weeks after the five-member board first heard of the plan from Superintendent Brian Dolan, which came after headlines about public rage directed at American schools that resort to so-called “lunch shaming” policies that humiliate children with meal debts.

Since July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has required school districts to adopt policies for taking care of delinquent student accounts for breakfast and lunch meals. While the agency, which funds the meal programs, is not specifically barring most of the embarrassing methods — such as serving cheap sandwiches instead of hot meals or sending children home with reminders, such as hand stamps — districts are being encouraged to inform parents at the start of the school year, so children don’t go hungry.

Source: Dixon Unified School District trustees focuses on meal debt recovery plan, sixth-grade transition