By The Washington Post
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced Thursday that his foundation will invest more than $1.7 billion in public education, money that will go to support schools interested in developing and testing new approaches to teaching.
“Every student should get a great public education and graduate with skills to succeed in the marketplace,” said Gates, who delivered the keynote address before about 1,000 school officials at the Council of the Great City Schools conference in Cleveland. “The role of philanthropy here is not to be the primary funder, but rather to fund pilots, to fund new ideas, to let people – it’s always the educators coming up with the ideas – to let them try them out and see what really works super well and get those to scale.”
Source: Bill Gates announces a $1.7 billion investment in US public schools
By Glen Faison
Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees may decide Thursday whether or not a host of community groups will retain preferential treatment when it comes to fees paid for their use of school facilities.
Costs associated primarily with use of school district facilities and grounds by nonprofits – and who should pay those costs – hangs in the balance.
Community nonprofits request more than 10,000 hours a year of school facilities use – and paid more than $80,000 for the privilege, according to a district staff report. Those payments did not include an hourly fee to use the facilities and grounds.
Source: Facility use fees back on docket for Fairfield-Suisun school board
By Carolyn Jones
Debra Sanders has spent the past five years providing guidance and comfort to Sonoma County’s homeless students, helping them navigate the school system and claim their rights to an education. Then, last week, she became homeless herself.
Sanders, her husband and 11-year-old son lost their home in the fires that roared through the Wine Country. Like many of the students she serves, she and her family are now living “doubled up” with another family because they lack a home of their own.
“Sometimes we can only relate to what we’ve experienced ourselves,” she said. “But for us, this is all temporary. It will resolve. For so many families who were renters or already living on the margins, it’s not going to resolve. At least not any time soon.”
Source: In aftermath of fires, schools brace for newly homeless students | EdSource
By George Johnston
The fires that ravaged areas of California this month have had a devastating impact on the Wine Country. Buildings were destroyed, lives were forever changed and people were left to recuperate from their losses. Benicia High School saw the repercussions of the fire and became good Samaritans to their nearby cities.
When the fires first started raging, Benicia High School’s administration began thinking of ways to help. Following Hurricane Harvey a few weeks earlier, Benicia High adopted two high schools in the Houston area that had been affected and started fundraising for them. The school used this as its basis for helping those affected by natural disasters and saw what Northgate Christian Fellowship was doing by supporting fire victims with donations and decided to partner with the church. Over the course of several days, the school gathered enough supplies to fill a van with.
“We did this because we felt the need to help in any way that we could and because our parents and students wanted to be a part of a positive response as well,” Benicia High Principal Brianna Kleinschmidt said.
Source: Benicia High becomes donation center for Wine Country fire affectees
Dixon Unified leaders face a relatively light agenda when they meet tonight in Dixon.
Superintendent Brian Dolan will lead an update about the ongoing process of planning and carrying out of the sixth-grade cohort’s transition to middle school.
He also will lead an update of the progress toward development of a school resource officer position, a suggestion made in July by Police Chief Robert E. Thompson.
At the time, during a trustee meeting, he noted that the rural, 3,500-student district was the only one in Solano without a school resource officer. Thompson told the five-member governing board that he had applied for federal funding that would pay for, either in full or part, the creation of the new department job.
Source: Dixon Unified leaders face light agenda tonight
By Richard Bammer
An update on state standardized tests and the use of project labor agreements, or PLAs, on Measure A projects are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified board members meet tonight in Vacaville.
Kelley Birch, director of secondary education, and Ryan Galles, director of elementary education, will lead the presentation, an overview, of the 2017 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, including updates and changes for the 2017-18 academic year. The all-computerized tests are given every spring to students in grades three to eight and 11. They are meant to gauge what students know at each grade level under the California State Standards.
Among others things, Birch and Galles will note all the tests included in the CAASSP battery of assessments: Smarter Balanced (for English and mathematics); the California Science Test (for grades five, eight and at least once in high school); and California Alternative Assessments, or Cal Alt (for students with the most severe disabilities).
Source: Vacaville Unified agenda: Overview of state standardized tests and PLAs
By Daily Republic Staff
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Thursday that allows more community college students to bypass remedial English and math courses and begin directly in college-level math and English, according to a press release.
Nearly 170,000 California community college students enter remedial math, for example, with as many as 110,000 failing to complete the math requirements required for a degree, according to the release.
Assembly Bill 705 will require colleges to use the high school grades or students rather than standardized tests to make accurate and equitable placement decisions, and ensure students are placed into courses that give them the best chances of completing college-level courses within a year.
Source: Brown signs bill to help boost community college student achievement
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that he has appointed Barbara Murchison as Director of the California Department of Education (CDE) Professional Learning Support Division.
Murchison will oversee the division’s efforts to support educators throughout their professional career, from recruitment to leadership opportunities. This division works in collaboration across the Department and the state, helping educators implement the California Standards and curriculum frameworks.
It administers several professional learning programs for educators at all levels and in all content areas, including science, technology, engineering, math, history-social science, literacy, and arts, with the goal of ensuring equitable learning opportunities for the state’s most vulnerable students, including English learners.
Murchison most recently served as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Lead, where she helped create a plan that meets federal requirements while shifting away from top-down decision-making and toward local control that helps local school districts better meet their own needs. The plan was developed over 18 months with input from thousands of Californians.
Source: New Professional Learning Support Director – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
Attendance Works is pleased to announce the release of its chronic absence reports for early childhood programs in partnership with ChildPlus and with COPA, two leading data management systems for Head Start and other early childhood programs.
Both online systems translate attendance data into charts that provide a clear picture of the level of chronic absence. This data will help Head Start agencies set strategies and target resources to address attendance challenges. Each chart links back to individual children. The online services make otherwise hard-to find information readily available, so professionals can spend time addressing rather than defining their attendance challenges.
Source: New preschool chronic absence reports from Child Plus and COPA – Attendance Works Attendance Works
By Nick Sestanovich
The principals of Benicia Unified School District’s middle and high schools will go over the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) at each of their sites at Thursday’s school board meeting.
SPSAs are put together by school site councils to develop goals that support the academic performance of all students and are aligned to BUSD’s Strategic Plans and Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The principals of Benicia’s secondary goals will be presenting their SPSAs for board approval.
Benicia High School’s SPSA highlighted a variety of goals. The first goal was to improve school culture and student-staff relationships, which would be measured through an increase in students’ Relationships, Effort, Aspirations, Cognitions, Heart (REACH) scores from 63 to 70 percent by June 2018. The second goal was to have the students increase the school’s overall English Language Arts (ELA) score on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) from 73 percent meeting or exceeding standards in 2017 to 78 percent in 2018. Likewise, the third goal was to increase the amount of students exceeding or meeting standards on the math portion of the SBAC from 52 to 55.6 percent. Principal Brianna Kleinschmidt also highlighted a long-term goal for the school to increase the number of students exceeding or meeting math standards on the SBAC to 70 percent by June of 2022, which would require a growth of 3.6 percentage points each year for the next five years.
Source: Secondary principals to present student achievement plans at Thursday’s school board meeting
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) issued a spare the air, and health advisory for the Bay Area, confirming the unhealthy air quality is likely to remain through Wednesday “as onshore winds are forecast to develop and push smoke eastward across Napa County and Solano County.”
Source: Bad air keeps some area schools shuttered
By Richard Cook
The Will C. Wood Band traveled to Elk Grove to compete in the 6th Annual Franklin Band Review on October 14th and earned awards in Concert and Jazz competition.
The students of the Wind Ensemble earned 3rd Place and the Jazz Band earned 5th in their division. The Jazz Band will travel to Lodi in November to compete again at the Lodi Grape Bowl Classic. The Wind Ensemble performs again in Fairfield at the Tournament of Champions, also in November.
Source: Our Successes: Will C. Wood Band Earns Awards in Elk Grove
By Richard Bammer
Not willing to spend the time and money to fend off a potential legal challenge, Dixon Unified leaders have decided to forgo using the lease-leaseback process for proposed and much-needed school renovations under Measure Q.
The Reporter recently learned of the district’s decision — made during a closed session gathering last month — from George Guynn, president of the Solano County Taxpayers Association, which in May first challenged the effort to use the lease-leaseback option.
In a press release, Guynn said the decision reaffirmed the governing board’s promise to voters when they approved the $30.4 million bond measure in November to modernize Old Dixon High and Anderson Elementary, among other aging campuses.
Before the election, district leaders promised to comply with the awarding of construction contracts “through competitive bid; prioritize projects; structure bond maturity consistent with project useful life; control soft costs and use non-bond funds for facility maintenance,” he wrote in the prepared statement.
Source: DUSD leaders forgo lease-leaseback option for Measure Q projects
By Richard Bammer
The latest state standardized test scores and the solicitation of several construction project bids are on the agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
Assistant Superintendent Sheila McCabe is expected to present a report on the 2017 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, which gauges how students in grades 3 to eight and 11 performed on the tests, based on California State Standards, last spring. It is the third year in which the all-computerized tests of English and math skills have been administered.
According to state data, some 11,450 district students were tested.
Forty-four percent met or exceeded state standards in English, 31 percent did so in math, roughly the same as the Solano County average, but somewhat below the state averages of 49 and 38 percent, respectively.
Source: CAASPP scores, solicitation of construction project bids on FSUSD agenda
By Glen Faison
The vast majority of children and teens who attend public schools in Fairfield and Suisun City will, barring a significant change in the status of the Atlas wildfire, return to classes next week.
Officials with the Fairfield-Suisun School District issued an announcement midafternoon Friday that they anticipate all schools in the district will reopen Monday and that all classes and student activities would resume at that time.
An evaluation of facilities is being completed by the district’s maintenance team and administrative staff, the district said in its school-closures update. This will continue throughout the weekend to ensure that the air quality within classrooms is safe.
Source: District expects Fairfield-Suisun schools to reopen Monday
By Ryan McCarthy
Proposed hourly fees to use sites – including $322 to use a high school football stadium and $8 for a classroom – that now can be used without charge go before Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees Tuesday.
The school district has for many years allowed the community to use sites and they have experienced more than normal wear and tear, a report to trustees said.
State law allows school boards to charge fees that do not exceed direct costs to operate sites, the report said.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun trustees to weigh fees to use district sites
By Richard Cook
Attention ALL Wildcat fans! On Saturday, October 21st, the Will C. Wood High School Band Boosters will be hosting their 1st annual Mattress Fundraiser Sale!
We will be turning the high school gym into a mattress showroom. There will be Simmons Beautyrest and more top brands in all sizes. Memory foam, latex, pillowtops and hybrid styles will be on display, priced up to 50% below retail store prices! Further discounts also offered for retired or active Teachers or school staff, First Responders, and Military.
Source: School Event: Will C. Wood Band Hosting Fundraiser Event
By Ryan McCarthy
A report on out-of-state trips – including travel to New York, Chicago and Dallas – goes before Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees Tuesday.
Kimberly Garrett of Armijo High School attended International Baccalaureate Environmental Systems and Society training July 6-8 in New York City at a cost of $2,361.
Gene Bondy of Cordelia Hills Elementary School attended the National Physical Education and School Sport Institute gathering July 24-26 at the University of North Carolina. The conference cost $275. Bondy covered all other costs.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun School District report New York, Chicago, Dallas trips
By Todd R. Hansen
Don Ryan was at home in bed when he got the first call about the fire in Napa County.
Within hours of that call, the director of the Solano County Office of Emergency Services had traveled to a parking lot command post in Napa. Not long after that, he made his first call back to Solano County.
“I called them and told them to get our EOC (Emergency Operations Center) going,” Ryan said Monday, nine days after the Atlas Fire ignited about 9:52 p.m. Oct. 8.
Source: County returning to normal with Atlas Fire out in Solano
By Daily Republic Staff
The Vacaville Youth Collaborative’s fall summit Saturday will explore the teen social issues highlighted in the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.”
The daylong event provides a guided discussion with social leaders around the topics of peer pressure, teen alcohol use, sexual assault and rape, bullying, and suicide prevention.
Source: Teen summit to explore bullying, peer pressure, suicide prevention