By Samer Rabadi and Betty Ray
Effective classroom management requires awareness, patience, good timing, boundaries, and instinct. There’s nothing easy about shepherding a large group of easily distractible young people with different skills and temperaments along a meaningful learning journey.
So how do master teachers do it?
To get a deeper understanding of experienced teachers’ go-to classroom management strategies, we took an informal poll on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Unsurprisingly, there is no silver bullet for classroom management success. That said, as we pored over the more than 700 responses, we did see some clear trends. Here are the most often cited and creative approaches.
Source: 5 Principles of Outstanding Classroom Management | Edutopia
By Andrew Ujifusa
Over the last week or so, we’ve highlighted several provisions of the two GOP-backed tax reform proposals in Congress that could specifically impact education. But there’s one question we haven’t really dealt with yet: Would the tax bills lead to funding cuts at the U.S. Department of Education?
As they are currently written, the tax cuts in the House and Senate proposals would be financed with about $1.4 trillion in deficit spending over the next decade. In other words, they’re not “deficit neutral” as that term is traditionally understood, and would add to the national debt, although Republicans argue that this leaves out “dynamic scoring” of the budget, in which tax cuts spur economic growth and ultimately boost tax revenue. However, if those tax cuts become law and they do increase the national debt, it could factor into long-running from Republicans in Congress that the national debt must be reined in. (There’s a separate argument to be had about whether approving tax cuts that add to the debt and then cutting spending to reduce the debt is sound policy, but let’s leave that aside.)
If spending is reined in, that means budget cuts, and the odds are that Republicans would advocate cuts to discretionary spending, the kind that funds the Education Department.
Source: Tax Bills’ Potential Impact on Federal Education Funding: Big Cuts, or Meh? – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By John Fensterwald
Uncertainty over the impact of a proposed Republican tax cut on the state’s economy and budget is hanging like a cloud over California, but at this point, the Legislative Analyst’s Office is projecting robust growth in state revenue for K-12 schools and community colleges in the coming year.
The LAO is predicting that the schools and community colleges will get $3.2 billion more in 2018-19 under Proposition 98, the constitutional formula that determines minimum school funding. That would be an increase of 4.3 percent, bringing the Prop. 98 total to $77.7 billion, according to the LAO report released Wednesday.
K-12 schools get about 89 percent of Prop. 98 funding, with community colleges getting most of the remainder.
Source: Legislative Analyst predicts healthy state revenues next year for schools, community colleges | EdSource
By Carolyn Jones
At Design Tech High, a charter school in Burlingame that’s affiliated with Oracle, students are analyzing the science behind the Tubbs Fire that raged through Sonoma County in October and creating blueprints for how the destroyed neighborhoods can rebuild in a way that could minimize impacts from the next fire.
The crash course in sustainability is an example of how, amidst the devastation and human suffering, teachers are using wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters to further students’ understanding of science, history and social studies.
“Drought, famine, fire, war — students get it. They see the connection between what’s on the news and these larger environmental issues,” said Andra Yeghoian, environmental education coordinator for the San Mateo County Office of Education, who teaches environmental science and trains teachers at Design Tech and other public schools in San Mateo County.
Source: Fires, floods, hurricanes: Teachers turn natural disasters into science and history lessons | EdSource
By Dan Walters
Three recent and seemingly discreet events neatly frame California’s political and legal war over whether the state’s six million K-12 students are being adequately educated.
The conflict pits the state’s education establishment against a coalition of civil rights groups, education reformers and charter school advocates over the “achievement gap” that separates poor children, particularly Latinos and African-Americans, from more privileged white and Asian students.
The battle has been waged in the Legislature, before the state school board and local boards and quite often in the legal arena.
Source: CALmatters Commentary: California’s school war flares up on 3 fronts
By Michael Morris
It’s that time of year in which music often acts as a uniting force for communities throughout the country.
Whether the sounds of the season exude from the speakers of a family’s living room or spills through the illuminated neighborhood streets as carolers go from house to house, Christmas music often rekindles the most treasured of memories as people reconvene for Merriment on Main Nov. 28.
For families set to attend to the 35th tree lighting, music has become ingrained within the tradition of Christmas in Vacaville. While there will be a collection of professional artists, the performances by the younger and less seasoned crowd have been a popular point of interest year after year.
Although the local jazz bands at Vacaville and Will C. Wood high schools have been an integral part of the annual celebration, the choir at Jean Callison Elementary School returns after more than 25 years providing their unique spin on the annual festivities. After originally performing on the sidewalk adjacent to where Fleet Feet Sports currently resides, the budding group of more than 100 elementary students will return with 14 unique songs and plenty of movement.
Source: Local students prepare for another Merriment on Main ensemble
Sixteen students from Vanden High School in Fairfield, CA, will be traveling to Beijing, Shanghai, and Ningbo this November 18-26, 2017. The students will conduct presentations and demonstrations to Beijing Economic Management High School and Jiaxing Sichuan Vocational College in Jiaxing, with the goal of building up a competitive and sustainable robotics curriculum programs in their respective communities.
These local robotics students will not only put their robot building and programming knowledge to the test but will also employ unique presentation skills, tying together academic language in English with elements of the Mandarin language. The support will not end with their visit, but will continue during the following year, providing support and resources by email and Skype. While in China, the students will also tour the sites of Shanghai, Terracotta Soldiers in Xi’an, and Beijing including the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
Source: Local High School Robotics Team prepare to visit China to share STEM Robotics Curriculum
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the State Board of Education (SBE) voted to approve instructional materials for grades K–8 that teach California’s groundbreaking History/Social-Science Curriculum Framework.
“I am proud California continues to lead the nation by teaching history-social science that is inclusive and recognizes the diversity of our great state and nation,” he said. “Students will benefit enormously.”
Torlakson said the instructional materials will give students a broader, deeper, and more accurate understanding of history and the social sciences, provide them with current research, and equip them with the critical thinking and research skills to make up their own minds about controversial issues.
“They update the teaching and learning of history and social science and convey important new information about the challenges and contributions made by individuals and ethnic groups, members of the LGBT communities, and people with disabilities,” he said. “They recognize some individuals and groups who may not have been fully included in the past.”
Source: Board Approves History Social Science Materials – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Nick Sestanovich
The school board will be voting to approve the submission of two applications requesting grant funding for renovation of Benicia High School’s Performing Arts Building (PAB) at its Thursday meeting.
In May, an informational meeting was held at Benicia High to discuss two items. One was a new set of graduation requirements that had recently been approved by the school board, which parents, students, faculty and community members felt decreased opportunities for performing arts students. The new requirements were later rescinded by the board and the old ones reinstated. The other item was the PAB. Many felt the 36-year-old building was not being treated as a high priority for Measure S funding, despite safety concerns including overhead lights without support beams.
Benicia Unified School District is seeking funding from a California Proposition 51 Career Technical Education Grant. Proposition 51 was approved by California voters in the 2016 election to provide $9 billion in bond funding for construction and improvement of K-12 schools and community colleges in the state. The funding would include renovation of the current building as well as new construction. Among the improvements planned by the district are replacing the “outdated” lighting and acoustic fixtures, converting and expanding old the costume shop into a dance studio, adding changing rooms in the backstage and production support space in the backstage, and expanding the stage to provide more performance space.
Source: BUSD applying for grant funding for BHS Performing Arts Building renovation
By Richard Bammer
Approval of a new board member, an agreement to accept a change to the El Dorado County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) document, and an update of the school’s special education program are on the agenda when the Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy board of directors meets tonight in Vacaville.
The directors are expected to approve the appointment of Leah Parker of Vacaville as the newest of seven board members for a three-year term. A former Buckingham Charter High teacher and the owner of Leah Dawn Photography in Vacaville, she will replace Bob Brigham.
The board also likely will approve an amended agreement with the El Dorado County SELPA, which, in October, OK’d a change in its “participation agreement,” which districts aligned to it must, in turn, approve.
Source: On Kairos agenda: New board member, SELPA agreement
By Richard Bammer
Tonight’s Travis Unified governing board meeting will not be routine, in part because dozens of unionized teachers will protest the lack of progress in 2017-18 contract talks that have dragged on since spring.
Members of the Fairfield district’s teachers association plan to gather in the parking lot outside the Travis Education Center at 5 p.m., one hour before trustees meet in open session. They also will speak during the public comment segment of the meeting.
With virtually no progress after several bargaining sessions going back more than six months, the union and district remain far apart on issues that will help attract and retain excellent teachers, Michael Souza, president of the 290-member Travis Unified Teachers Association, said Monday.
Source: Slow contract talks irk Travis teachers
By Nick Sestanovich
Lights, camera, action…lots and lots of action. That is the best way to describe Benicia High School’s Panther TV.
Since its inception in 2013, the weekly web series that serves as an offshoot of the film production class has had the same goal: to deliver the news of on-campus happenings to students and their parents in a video format. However, each year, the student cast has brought something new to the presentation, and with showings now being required for the whole campus under the new schedule, this year’s class has sought to take it to a whole new level.Matt O’Reilly, the class instructor, said Panther TV began as a way for students to deliver news to their fellow peers. He describes the program as a class within a class where a group of film production students focuses on putting Panther TV together as a means to use their film skills for broadcasting.
The class began with seven students delivering the news from desks out of a ceramics room.“They were delivering information almost like how announcements were delivered on the intercom but at least it was in video format,” O’Reilly said.
Source: Benicia High news broadcast program continues to evolve
By Tim Goree
Big 5 Sporting Goods is celebrating their new store opening in Fairfield with an Open House Reception and official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to highlight a special donation to the Dan O. Root Health and Wellness Academy on Tuesday, November 14th, from 4:00pm – 6:30pm.
The donation consists of ‘kettle bell’ fitness equipment, shock absorbing athletic gym flooring, yoga mats, and a $1,500 line of credit for future purchases by the school. This is the beginning of what we hope will be a mutually beneficial partnership between Big 5 and a school with an instructional theme that fits perfectly with the store’s expertise.
Source: Event: Big 5 Sporting Goods Ribbon Cutting Features Special Donation to Dan O. Root Health and Wellness Academy
By Richard Bammer
State Controller Betty T. Yee has updated the Government Compensation in California website to include 2016 self-reported salary and benefits data for K-12 education employers, including public school districts, charter schools and county offices of education.
The data, which can be found at www.publicpay.ca.gov, covers 634,314 positions across the state and more than $25.55 billion in wages.
But in Solano County, however, pay information for most school districts and employees was not reported.
While cities, counties, and special districts are required to report salary and benefits data to the State Controller, K-12 education employers, that is, school districts, are voluntary reporters, said Taryn Kinney, a spokeswoman for Yee’s office.
Yee — who, as the chief fiscal officer of California, is responsible for accountability and disbursement of the state’s taxpayer-funded resources — requested data from more than 1,900, K-12 school districts. However, only 514 chose to report “in the interest of transparency,” Kinney wrote in a press release issued Wednesday.
Source: State Controller posts pay info on some K-12 staff
By The Washington Post
More than 600,000 Americans signed up for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act during the first four days of the new enrollment season, according to federal figures that signal a brisk start despite Republicans’ efforts to dismantle the law.
Some 601,462 Americans chose a health plan from Nov. 1-4 in states relying on the federal exchange, the figures released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show.
Source: New ACA enrollment season is off to brisk start, figures show
By Ryan McCarthy
Send negotiators back to the bargaining table and secure a fair contract with teachers, Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees were asked Thursday.
Dan Pozzesi, a teacher at Green Valley Middle School and executive board member of the Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association, was among instructors speaking during public comment.
The Fairfield-Suisun teachers association said in a press release Thursday that the union, recognizing the district’s financial difficulties, has proposed a smaller salary increase than the district offered in contract negotiations.
Source: Get back to bargaining table, teachers ask Fairfield-Suisun School District
By Ryan McCarthy
Cutting property taxes on more than 8,700 parcels – with savings officials say total about $10 million – won approval Thursday by Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees, one of whom said she expected the action would make a taxpayer’s advocate smile.
Property tax assessments for landowners in Community Facilities District No 5, established during the 1989-90 school year, have paid for construction at B. Gale Wilson School, Crystal Middle School, Green Valley Middle School, Rolling Hills Elementary School and other projects, a school district staff report said.
The tax rate in the district was cut to 25 cents per square foot – $600 a year for a 2,400-square-foot home – in 2009. The overall debt has since been refinanced to lower the overall debt, most recently in 2015, according to a staff report.
Source: Trustees OK property tax cut on parcels in Fairfield-Suisun School District
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano College Horticulture Club’s annual Winter Plant Sale in December will feature wreaths and swags made by the Horticulture Department students, as well as holiday planted gifts, winter vegetable starts, bedding plants, house plants, succulents and more – all in time for the holidays.
The sale will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 7; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m Dec. 8; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Louise Wilbourn Yarbrough Horticulture and Plant Science Institute – formerly Building 1000 – on the college’s main campus in Rockville, 4000 Suisun Valley Road. Parking is in Lot 6.
Source: Solano College Horticulture Club announces holiday plant sale
By Daily Republic Staff
Fairfield High School’s acclaimed Scarlet Brigade Marching Band will host the 29th annual Tournament of Champions from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18.
The competition viewing area is on Dover Avenue between East Atlantic Avenue and Cement Hill Road. The parade begins at 9 a.m. Concert and jazz performances begin at 8 a.m. at Fairfield High School, 205 E. Atlantic Ave.
More than 40 elite middle school and high school band programs from Northern California and Nevada will perform. The event ends with a field show competition at 5:30 p.m. at Schaefer Stadium.
Source: Scarlet Brigade announces Tournament of Champions band revue
By John Fensterwald
Citing methodology flaws, the State Board of Education on Wednesday revised criteria for rating performance on standardized test scores on the new color-coded California School Dashboard. The unanimous decision will reduce the number of districts and schools rated red, the lowest performing of the five color categories, but board members and state administrators insisted that was not the motivating factor (see previous story).
“It would be worse to do nothing; that would undermine credibility (of the system) and create more volatility” in test score ratings, said board member Ilene Straus, who monitors school improvement and accountability issues for the board.
The fix — which was proposed by a technical group of advisers to the California State Department of Education — was in response to what would otherwise be a big fluctuation in school and district color designations on the “academic” indicator, which includes test scores, on the school dashboard.
Source: State board alters criteria for rating school performance on new state dashboard | EdSource