By John Fensterwald
During a presentation earlier this month on how to choose the roughly 300 lowest-performing schools that must get intensive help under federal law, a number struck some members of the State Board of Education like a brick from the sky: 3,003.
That’s the total number of schools in the state — not 300 but nine or 10 times that many — that staff estimate would require at least some form of help based on the school selection criteria that the board was considering.
That massive number is slightly under half of all schools in California receiving federal aid for low-income schools. It underscored the challenge, if not a larger threat, that the Every Student Succeeds Act could pose for the state board by diverting attention and resources from the different strategy of reform that the board is putting into place. That number is why the board called a time out and stripped any reference to the method it will use to select schools needing help — a key element of the state plan for complying with the law — from the revision it sent to the U.S. Department of Education last week.
Source: Federal, state visions for improving schools collide in California | EdSource
By Todd R. Hansen
A bill introduced in the state Senate this week would extend Cal Grant access to eligible foster youth – access that could benefit dozens of youth in Solano County.
Jodie Williams, founder and executive director for the volunteer-based Heart 2 Heart Solano Youth Services, said her organization typically deals with the most desperate in the foster youth population – those who have aged out of the program and have few options. Many are homeless.
One young woman, now 22, was an honors student at a local high school, attended Solano Community College and then her support system crashed when she turned 21.
“When we first met her, she was already couch surfing,” said Williams, who added that the woman was working full-time. “She was getting financial aid, but it wasn’t enough for her living expenses.”
Source: Bill would give foster youth greater access to Cal Grant financing
By Richard Bammer
They are pint-sized versions of Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin and Lyda D. Newman, inventors all, of the incandescent light bulb, bifocals, and the improved modern hair brush, respectively.
They also possessed several traits common to successful inventors four and five times their age, not necessarily genius but, chief among them, persistence in the face of repeated failure, what Edison called “1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”
As they showed off their inventions Tuesday at the Dan O. Root Health and Wellness Academy, where the Suisun City campus held its first Invention Convention, fourth-graders in three classes proudly explained their projects in the multipurpose room.
Source: Fourth-graders at Dan O. Root Academy show off at Invention Convention
By Nick Sestanovich
The superintendent of the Benicia Unified School District is asking school board trustees to support a resolution by the California School Boards Association (CSBA) requesting more money for state schools at Thursday’s BUSD Governing Board meeting.According to the resolution, “California has the sixth largest economy in the world and the largest Gross Domestic Product of any state in the nation,” however “the state falls in the nation’s bottom quintile on nearly every measure of public K-12 school funding and school staffing.”
The resolution notes that California ranks 45th nationally in the percentage of taxable income used on education, 41st in funding per pupil, 45th in pupil-teacher ratios and 48th in pupil-staff ratios.
“California’s investment in public schools is out of alignment with its wealth, its ambitions, its demographics and the demands of a 21st-century education,” the resolution states.The resolution cites a 2007 report titled “Getting Down to the Facts,” which posited that it would take an additional $17 billion annually to meet the state Board of Education’s achievement targets. It also cites a 2016 CSBA report, “California’s Challenge: Adequately Funding Education in the 21st Century,” which updated the 2007 report and came to the conclusion that, when adjusted for inflation, an additional annual $22 billion to $40 billion would be crucial to provide all public school students with access to high-quality education.“In order to prepare our students for participation in a democratic society and an increasingly competitive, technology-driven global economy, California must fund schools at a level sufficient to support student success,” the report reads.
Source: BUSD trustees to vote on resolution requesting more money for California public schools
By Nick Sestanovich
Lip-syncing in music is often frowned upon (See: Milli Vanilli), but when it is turned into a competition, suddenly everybody wants to be a part of it. Lip-sync competitions certainly have become a sensation in the past couple of years. While simply mouthing the words to popular songs may not seem like it takes a lot of skill, it actually is quite a challenge to not only make the lip movements match with the words but also make it entertaining. However, lots of people have managed to attempt this challenge, and it has proven successful. Perhaps you have seen celebrities squaring off against Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show,” or maybe even the Paramount Network competition series “Lip Sync Battle,” hosted by LL Cool J and Chrissy Teigen.
Now the concept has come to Robert Semple Elementary School for the second year in a row, as faculty members square off in the school’s Teacher Lip Sync Battle.The event, which is coordinated by fifth-grade teacher Kendra Petrellese and fourth and fifth-grade combination teacher Matt Shelton, acts as a fundraiser for the school’s Outdoor Education Program for fourth and fifth graders. Both classes go to Coloma for three days and two nights, where the fourth graders go by Sutter’s Mill and learn about the Gold Rush, different mining techniques and how the early settlers made cornbread.
Source: Semple teachers to face off in Lip Sync Battle fundraiser
By John Glidden
Faced with a need to cut $8 million from the upcoming budget, the Vallejo school board is expected to make the first round of position cuts during a special meeting Tuesday night.
Trustees will be asked to eliminate dozens of positions for a savings of $4.3 million, according to a staff report. The biggest cuts will come from the teaching ranks — 32 positions are set to be eliminated, saving the district $2.6 million.
District staff previously stated the Vallejo City Unified School District usually has teachers who resign or retire after each school year. If may be possible that the district will not need to layoff any teachers.
Declining enrollment, the encroachment of charter schools, rising health and benefits contributions, and high chronic absentee rates have been identified as reasons why the district is facing financial issues.
Source: Vallejo school board to cut positions
By Richard Bammer
Contemporary Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood once said, “War is what happens when language fails.” And it is certainly hellish, as Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman famously noted and today’s smartphone videos, seen on cable newscasts, show.
As they do for all, the problems of peace and the hell of war affected the many American veterans of 20th-century wars and also many Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. Their dreams of high school graduation evaporated with the advent of armed global conflict.
During the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, millions of young men and women left high school and their homes to serve in the U.S. military. Consider that more than 14 million were on active duty in 1945 alone, according to Department of Defense data.
Source: Interrupted mission: High school graduation, diplomas offered to veterans, WWII internees
By Richard Bammer
Officials at Solano Community College on Monday reported the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) that the college’s accreditation has been reaffirmed for seven years without any findings or sanctions.
“We are proud that our peers on the accrediting commission recognize the excellence in teaching and learning that takes place at our college every day,” Celia Esposito-Noy, president of SCC, said in a press release. “Our faculty, staff and students work hard to foster environments of support, growth, and achievement at all three of our campuses.”
The school’s main campus is in Fairfield, at 4000 Suisun Valley Road, with the other two, SCC Vacaville and Vallejo centers at 2001 N. Village Parkway and 545 Columbus Parkway, respectively.
Source: SCC accreditation is reaffirmed by Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
By John Fensterwald
Instead of just two candidates for state superintendent of public instruction, there will be at least five, including a young education consultant with some management experience similar to Marshall Tuck’s, a college instructor who can match Assemblyman Tony Thurmond’s past nonprofit experience counseling low-income students, and an oil industry geologist turned publisher of digital science materials who wants the state to abandon the Common Core standards.
The list of candidates — with two months to go before the March deadline for filing for office — raises the prospect that neither Tuck nor Thurmond, the presumptive leaders in the nonpartisan race, will get a majority of votes in the June primary, sending the race to a potentially expensive two-person runoff in November.
“The more crowded the field, the more likely a runoff will happen,” said Kevin Gordon, a Sacramento education consultant.
Source: More candidates for state superintendent raise odds of runoff in November | EdSource
By Ryan McCarthy
Lodging costs of more than $2,000 in December, including stays at hotels in Oakland and Sonoma County, won approval Thursday by Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees.
Trustee Chris Wilson asked – in written questions by school board members – why the school district after reducing travel was paying for stays at the Doubletree Sonoma, the Doubletree Mission Valley and the Hilton Los Angeles-Universal City.
Two teachers and an administrator stayed at the Doubletree Sonoma to attend the California Consortium for Independent Study. Lodging cost $354 for the three to share two rooms for a night, the school district response said.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun board OK’s hotel costs for district staff
By Ryan McCarthy
Kris Corey, superintendent of the Fairfield-Suisun School District, attended the Superintendent’s Symposium from Jan. 24-26 at the Monterey Convention Center.
The website for the Association of California School Administrators, which held the event, said the conference brings school leaders from around the state professional learning, networking and advocacy.
“It is time for superintendents to lead a movement to restore California schools to their once-held rank of the best in the nation,” the website said.
Source: Corey attends Superintendent’s Symposium in Monterey
By Daily Republic Staff
Roll some dice, socialize and have fun Feb. 17 while raising money at Heart 2 Heart Bunco.
Play begins at 2 p.m. in the Solano Community College cafeteria, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Building 1400. Parking is free. Light snacks and dessert are provided.
Proceeds benefit emancipated foster youth. Seating is limited. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance tickets are $20 and come with three free prize drawing tickets. Any remaining tickets sold at the door are $25 and don’t qualify for the free prize drawing tickets.
Source: Bunco game raises funds for emancipated Solano foster youth
By Ariana Figueroa
CJ Marple wanted to teach his young students how quickly information can spread on the Internet.
So earlier this year, the third-grade science teacher wrote up a tweet with the help of his students, asking for other users to retweet the message, or even reply to the message with their location.
The Kansas teacher says he expected 1,000 or so retweets, but within days the tweet went viral and gained more than 227,000 retweets and 75,000 replies from users all over the world. His students, who are probably a little too young for their own social media accounts, learned a lot that week about the power of social media. If used right, Marple says, “The possibilities are endless.”
Source: Teach Students To Use Social Media (The Right Way) And The Possibilities Are Endless : NPR Ed : NPR
By John Glidden
Possible teacher layoffs dominated the conversation Wednesday night, as the Vallejo school board discussed cutting $8.9 million from the district’s 2018-19 budget.
“I don’t want to cut anything in the classroom and I’m going to be watching that carefully,” said Trustee Tony Ublade as preliminary reductions being proposed by the district include cutting about 32 teaching positions. This amounts to $2.6 million in savings, district staff said.
Vallejo Education Association President Sheila Gradwohl said the unpredictably of teacher layoffs affects everyone.
“The feeling you get when this happens is one of uncertainty, you’re scared, you don’t know if you can pay bills, it really affects you and if it affects you, it affects your kids, affects the students you teach,” Gradwohl said.
Source: Vallejo trustees get first look at budget cuts
By Ryan McCarthy
State spending on public schools doesn’t match California’s wealth, ambitions, demographics or demands of a 21st century education, says a resolution that Fairfield-Suisun School District trustees approved Thursday.
“This is so very necessary,” said David Isom, the board of trustees president.
The resolution states that “Despite its vast wealth, California has consistently underfunded public education while widening its scope, adding new requirements and raising standards without providing appropriate resources to prepare all students for college, career and civil life.”
Source: Fairfield-Suisun trustees support more money for California schools
By Louis Freedberg
A year into his presidency, neither Donald Trump nor his secretary of education Betsy DeVos has inflicted anything like the damage on K-12 education that many public school advocates feared based on his campaign pledges and public pronouncements.
The threat of a major expansion of school “choice” programs from the billionaire duo — in the form of government subsidies for private school tuition — has failed to materialize.
When he ran for president, Trump promised to “pursue” within his first 100 days what he called the School Choice and Education Opportunity Act. In Trump’s pre-election vision, the legislation would “redirect education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice.”
Source: Despite promises, Trump administration has had little impact on public education in California | EdSource
By Lee Romney
Researchers, educators, parents, teachers and youth advocates across the country increasingly agree that learning and practicing social and emotional skills in tandem with academics is crucial to K-12 student success.
That’s according to a report issued this week by The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development.
The report marks the commission’s mid-way mark in its effort to explore “how to make social, emotional, and academic development part of the fabric of every school” and offer a road map “toward a future where every child receives the comprehensive support needed to succeed in school, in our evolving 21st century workplace, and in life.”
Source: Student social, emotional and academic development becoming more intertwined in K-12 classrooms | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
Four public hearings about tentative employee wage-and-benefit contracts (followed by the their likely approval), a resolution calling for “full and fair” funding of California public schools, and Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2018-19 state budget proposal are on the agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet Thursday night in Fairfield.
The four public hearings pertain to a 1 percent wage hike for the 2017-18 year, retroactive to July 1, for the following bargaining units:
• Members the California Schools Employees Association Chapter 302’s support and operations unit, which represents some of the district’s classified employees (bus driver, custodians, cafeteria, etc.).
Source: Fairfield Unified School District to discuss wage pacts
By Michael Morris
Will C. Wood High School’s new stadium is running behind schedule, however, district officials are still optimistic the project will be completed between late March and early April.
With the original completion date of Feb. 1 steadily approaching for the $16 million project funded by Measure A, a meeting was held Friday morning at the Educational Services Center in Vacaville to decide the best possible course of action for Wildcat Stadium.
“We came to the conclusion the project will be completed at the end of March/early April,” wrote Dan Banowetz, director of facilities for the Vacaville Unified School District, in an email to The Reporter. “This is weather depending of course.”
Along with the consistent rainfall to start the year, Banowetz explained how attaining the concrete masonry unit was one of a few items that slowed down the project the last few months.
Source: Wildcat Stadium expected to be complete in late-March, early-April
By Reporter Staff
At midyear, staffing changes in American public schools are common, and Vacaville Unified is no stranger to a shuffling of positions or new appointments at the outset of another calendar year.
In an email to The Reporter, Jennifer Leonard, the district’s public information officer, noted the following:
Ramiro Barron, the former principal of Padan Elementary, was elevated from interim director of Student Attendance and Welfare to director.
Jose Bermudez, formerly assistant principal at Markham Elementary, has been named principal of Fairmont Elementary, replacing Deanna Brownlee, who recently left to be director of special education in Travis Unified.
Source: Staff changes continue in Vacaville Unified School District