By Niu Gao and Lunna Lopes
California’s high school graduation rate has increased steadily in recent years.
California’s high school graduation rate increased from 75% in 2009–10 to 83% in 2015–16. Much of this increase has come from rising graduation rates among students of color: rates for both Latino students and African American students have increased 12 percentage points (to 80% and 73%, respectively). Graduation rates for English Learners and economically disadvantaged students have risen 16 and 12 percentage points.
Source: California’s High School Graduation Requirements – Public Policy Institute of California
By Ashley Hopkinson
In an effort to remove obstacles for Californians trying to succeed in the labor market, a new law could make access to child care easier for low-income parents taking classes to learn English or complete high school.
The law will expand the eligibility requirements for subsidized child care. It will make low-income parents who are are enrolled in English as a second language classes (ESL) or a program to earn a high school diploma or general education development certificate (GED) eligible to place their children in subsidized care.
Although in the past some parents taking ESL classes were considered eligible for subsidized care, it was not specifically listed as a factor for eligibility.
Source: New California law expands low-income parents’ access to subsidized child care | EdSource
The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) awarded the Solano Transportation Authority two grants to standardize, collect, analyze and report travel safety data to police and public works staff; and evaluate and promote pedestrian and bicycle safety around schools countywide.
Each of the grants awarded are for $170,000 for one year.
The OTS provides competitive awards annually to jurisdictions with programs created to improve travel safety.
STA’s Projects Department was awarded a Traffic Records grant focused on procurement of collision data software and standardization of data reporting techniques. This data will help to identify the types and locations of collisions, and will have this data available and analyzed automatically. In consultation with the commanders of each police department within Solano County, all data will be collected and made available through an online portal. STA is embarking on an effort to collect and analyze as much safety data as possible to identify locations of concern and implement cost-effective solutions.
Source: Solano Transportation Authority receives traffic safety grants
By Andrew Ujifusa
The top Democrat on education issues in the Senate says Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has approved state education plans that don’t comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act.
In a Tuesday hearing before the Senate education committee about federal financial aid for college, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., took the opportunity in her opening remarks to say that not every state’s ESSA plan meets the law’s requirements for schools with struggling student subgroups.
Addressing Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the committee chairman, DeVos said, “If the department is today ignoring the agreement we made in the law and just choosing to implement whatever it feels like—which I believe they are in their approval of state plans so far—then this committee needs to hear from the secretary directly about how she intends to follow the laws that Congress agrees to.”
Source: DeVos Has Approved ESSA Plans That Flout Federal Law, Top Democrat Says – Politics K-12 – Education Week
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that more than 800,000 California students are now eligible to receive free and reduced priced meals from the state school lunch program through a more streamlined and automated state-level Direct Certification process.
Local education agencies (LEAs) can now use Medi-Cal data included on the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) direct certification reports to certify eligible students. The data exchange between the state departments and the LEAs takes place securely without disclosing a student’s Medicaid status, health information, or specific income data.
This Direct Certification process eliminates the need for families to fill out applications, reduces the administrative tasks of verifying and processing those applications, and identifies eligible students in a more expedient timeline.
Source: CA Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Meals – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Reporter Staff
The air chills, the nights grow longer, signs the season of glad tidings will soon be here, always welcome news to the eyes and ears, as the Will C. Wood Singers ready their annual Madrigal Dinner programs, fundraisers for the high school’s choral programs, beginning Thursday.
Besides the first performance, the 21st annual shows, called “Seasons of Light,” also are set for Friday and Saturday at the Opera House, 560 Main St., Vacaville.
Madilyn Hawkins wrote the script; Colby Hawkins, a choral instructor at the Marshall Road campus, directs; and Naomi Simpson is the choreographer.
Source: Wood High Madrigal Dinner shows begin Thursday
By Richard Bammer
California families with public school students will no longer be saddled with filling out applications to make sure the children are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches.
Instead, local school districts will use Medi-Cal data as a way to certify eligibility, state schools chief Tom Torlakson noted in a press release issued just before the Thanksgiving holiday break.
The automated process, which affects more than 800,000 K-12 students and began after July 1, includes information from California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) in order to streamline the process through “direct certification,” Cynthia Butler, a spokeswoman for Torlakson, wrote in the prepared statement.
Source: Districts to use automated process to certify free lunch-eligible students
By Daily Republic Staff
Sierra Vista School will host its second annual holiday fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
A variety of vendors will offer products and handcrafted items. Pictures with Santa can be purchased at the event. Admission is free.
The school is located at 301 Bel Air Drive in Vacaville.
Source: Sierra Vista School announces holiday fair
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that he has appointed Leisa Maestretti as Director of the California Department of Education (CDE) Fiscal and Administrative Services Division (FASD).
Maestretti’s duties include managing the CDE’s Fiscal Systems Analysis, Child Development and Child Nutrition, Budget Management, and Accounting Offices, as well as overseeing fiscal systems and processes, including the Department’s upcoming transition to the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal).
“Maestretti’s extensive background in fiscal administration and accounting will help support the CDE’s mission of overseeing the state’s diverse public school system,” said Torlakson. “Her leadership and management skills will help ensure that the CDE’s financial systems run smoothly, incorporate the latest technology, and maintain our transparency.”
Source: Torlakson Appoints New FASD Director – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Arletta Kelley-Cortright
The Fairfield-Nirasaki Sister City Program invites all interested high school students and their parents to attend an information meeting on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. in the Fairfield Adult Recreation Center.
Students can learn about participating in the 2018 summer exchange visit to Fairfield’s Sister City, Nirasaki, Japan. During the three-week stay, students live with host families and travel to Kyoto, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and many local historic and cultural sites in the Nirasaki area.
This exciting opportunity is open to all high school students who reside in Fairfield or attend a Fairfield high school. Applications for the exchange group will be available at the meeting.
Source: Information meeting for student trip to Japan
By Richard Bammer
Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman coined the phrase “War is hell.”
And perhaps life has resembled it in some ways for many veterans of 20th-century American wars and many Japanese-Americans interned during World War II, when time and circumstance put an end to their high school education.
During the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, thousands of young men and women left high school and their homes to
serve in the U.S. armed forces. Additionally, during World War II many Japanese-American citizens were forced into relocation camps across the United States. Some young Japanese-American men, rather than stay in the camps, were later permitted to enlist in the U.S. armed forces. Notably the 442nd Infantry Regiment, composed mostly of Japanese-American men, became the most decorated unit of its size in U.S. military history. After these wars — besides World War II, they include the Korean and Vietnam wars — many were unable to finish high school and receive a diploma.
Source: February deadline for Operation Recognition
By Richard Bammer
At a time when the Trump administration is considering cutting federally funded after-school programs, there is an additional reason this Thanksgiving season to be grateful if you are a Vacaville middle school student or parent of one.
After more than two years of talks, preparation and work, Vacaville Unified, the City of Vacaville, and the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Clubs will open “The Club” at Jepson Middle School.
The space at the Elder Street campus will open its doors Monday after much-needed repairs to a portable classroom that sat vacant for eight years, Anna Eaton, executive director of the clubs, noted in a press release.
Source: Boys & Girls Club to open new space at Jepson
By Daily Republic Staff
Rodriguez High School presents the comedy, “You Can’t Take It With You,” written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.
The story centers on sweet-natured Alice Sycamore who falls for the banker’s son, Tony Kirby.
When she invites her snooty prospective in-laws to dinner to give their blessing to the marriage, Alice’s peculiar extended family might be too eccentric for the Kirbys.
Source: Rodriguez students tackle comedy ‘You Can’t Take It With You’
More than 4 percent of adolescents and 10 percent of young adults nationwide were living on the street, in cars or shelters, or couch-surfing at some point in the last year, according to a sweeping study by the University of Chicago released Wednesday.
The study, “Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness in America,” was based on random phone surveys of 26,000 young people ages 13 to 25, and represents one of the most accurate, wide-ranging overviews ever conducted of homeless youth, a group whose numbers have long eluded researchers, educators and social workers, homeless advocates said.
“We just haven’t had definitive numbers like this before,” said Shahera Hyatt, director of the California Homeless Youth Project, a state agency. “It’s fantastic to have this data, but the numbers are staggering. We as a country really have to face the truth about youth homelessness. I hope this report finally spurs us into action.”
Source: Young and homeless in America | EdSource
By Daily Republic Staff
The Buckingham Charter Magnet High School RoboKnights have kicked off their new season and now they’re reaching out to the community by hosting an event for the smaller Robo children in the league.
The First Lego League offers an opportunity for children in elementary and middle schools to compete in robotics competitions that are geared toward young minds.
“These young teams are encouraged to think like scientists and engineers to solve real-world problems,” Logan Malaney, RoboKnights president, said in a statement. “And we get to guide them along the way.”
Source: RoboKnights announce first Lego event in Vacaville
A biennial report about Alamo Elementary, accountability “local indicators,” and several large contracts are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.
Derek Wickliff, principal of Alamo Elementary, will present the report about the South Orchard Avenue campus. He will touch on a variety of topics. They include the school’s music program; recent past events; data from the California Dashboard, the state’s new schools accountability system, with statistics about suspension rates, English learner progress, and results from the 2017 state standardized tests; and attendance.
A district staff member will present information about local indicators from the Dashboard. They include basic services, the carrying-out of academic standards, parent engagement and school climate.
Through this accountability system, each California school district and charter school is required to provide a “narrative,” complete a rating scale, or use survey results to determine progress.
Source: Vacaville Unified leaders to discuss Measure A contracts
By Daily Republic Staff
Solano Youth Theatre, a division of Young Artists Conservatory of Music, opens the 2017-18 season this weekend with Disney’s “Mulan Jr.”
“Our SYT is a great expression of our community at its best,” said Wanda Cook, artistic director and founder of the Young Artists Conservatory of Music, in a press release.
“Each SYT show gives our student actors the opportunity to develop lifelong skills. It pulls together hundreds of adults in support of excellence demonstrated in the life of a hard-working young person.”
Source: Solano Youth Theatre opens season with ‘Mulan Jr.’
By Ryan McCarthy
Cellphone cameras recorded the moment, “Pomp and Circumstance” played and a table displayed a quote from Henry David Thoreau.
The Air Force Junior ROTC Color Guard at Armijo High School presented the colors and Xavier Deyro of Fairfield High School led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Source: Midyear commencement in Fairfield marks start for graduates
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Ashley Parker, who directs the Vacaville High School choir, begins listening and searching for Christmas music in the late summer.
“I joke around that I’m always ‘bah humbug’ by the time Christmas actually gets here,” she shared in an email.
The choir kicks off a busy holiday season Nov. 25 as they make their third appearance in “Christmas in My Hometown,” now in its 12th year.
That will be followed by singing Nov. 28 at the annual Festival of Trees in Vacaville.
Source: Vacaville High choir kicks off busy season at ‘Christmas in My Hometown’
By The Associated Press
A school secretary at a tiny elementary school rushed out to shoo children inside. A custodian swooped in, yelling “get into the classrooms,” at kids in the play yard.
Inside Rancho Tehama Elementary School, children and some parents huddled under desks as bullets riddled the tan and teal portable classrooms.
“I didn’t know what was happening and this boy was like, ‘Get down, get down!’ He did not want some people to get hurt,” 6-year-old Aileen Favela recalled Wednesday.
Source: Quick-Thinking School Staff Saved Children at California School – Education Week