Torlakson Speaks at 2018 CABE Conference – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Wednesday (March 28, 2018) will speak with California bilingual teachers and meet with Mexican education officials to discuss ways to work together to help “the students we share.”

These discussions, which will take place at the state’s largest bilingual education conference, continue Torlakson’s efforts to forge closer ties with Mexican educators and to promote multilingual education.

Torlakson will address the California Association for Bilingual Education, which organizes the gathering of about 2,000 educators. The conference this year is titled “Embracing Multilingualism: From Policy to Powerful Practices.”

“Embracing multilingualism is what we do, and do well in California,” Torlakson said. “We embrace different languages, we welcome different cultures. We build bridges, not walls with our fellow educators in Mexico. People in California, parents, educators, business leaders, and community leaders understand that diversity is our strength.”

Source: Torlakson Speaks at 2018 CABE Conference – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

Updates of school safety plans on Dixon USD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Updates of school safety plans and two related matters, the approval of principals at Dixon High, and a policy regarding involuntary student transfers are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

By law, California school districts must approve school safety plans to make sure that schools are as prepared as possible for emergencies while maintaining safe and secure learning environments.

School safety plans must present clear policies that deal with hate crimes, acts of violence, their perpetrators. Additionally, school safety plans must include a discrimination and harassment policy.

Mark Monachello, the district’s information technology services director, will make the presentation.

His remarks will come six weeks after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., where a former student, using a military-style assault rifle, shot and killed 14 students and three educators, which later prompted the national student-led march against gun violence last weekend in Washington, D.C., and in more than 850 cities, small and large, across the globe.

Source: Updates of school safety plans on Dixon Unified School District agenda

TUSD to offer full-day kindergarten in the fall – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

For some of the youngest Travis Unified students and their families, it will be a major change.

The district, which includes two Vacaville elementary schools, will offer full-day kindergarten for all kindergarten students starting in the 2018-2019 school year, which begins in August.

The district was able to make the adjustment due to newly available classroom space, district officials said in a press release.

“We are so excited to be able to offer a full-day kindergarten program,” said Pam Conklin, the district superintendent. “The drawback has always been facilities. We are working on the necessary logistics and partnering with our union to better serve our young students and provide equity to all.”

Governing board President Riitta De Anda noted many Travis parents had longed for the change.

Source: Travis Unified School District to offer full-day kindergarten in the fall

Vietnam, Korean War vets from Solano get long-delayed high school diplomas – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

Army veteran Nicanor Rios was still in high school in 1967 when he got his draft notice.

The Fairfield man offered to volunteer the moment he graduated if the military was willing to let him finish, but the military wasn’t interested.

Within a couple of months he was flown to Vietnam to serve a year-long tour with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade as a rifleman.

Now, 51 years after he was patrolling the jungles of Vietnam, Rios and six other local veterans finally got the high school diplomas they misses out on when they joined the military.

“It feels great,” Rios said of the diploma he now holds.

The ceremony, which took place Thursday afternoon at the Solano County Office of Education, was the central part of a gathering that also honored local Vietnam veterans.

Source: Vietnam, Korean War vets from Solano get long-delayed high school diplomas

How Much Would it Cost to Get All Students Up to Average? | US News

By The Hechinger Report

How much does it cost to educate a child? It often feels like policymakers pick numbers out of a hat. Utah spends less than $7,000 a year on a student from kindergarten through high school. New York spends more than $20,000, federal data show. Within the state of Illinois, a wealthy district typically spends $3,400 more than a poor district, according to a February 2018 study by The Education Trust, a nonprofit group that conducts research and advocates for low-income students. Cost of living differences account for some of these gaps but not all or even most of them, says Ary Amerikaner of Education Trust.

Now a team of five researchers from Rutgers University in collaboration with the Education Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy organization, has created a complicated model that predicts how much money it would cost each school district in America to get its students to reach average test scores in math and reading, as recorded from 2013 to 2015. This is not a particularly ambitious goal; the average test score in the U.S. is well below what is considered “proficient” for each grade level.

Source: How Much Would it Cost to Get All Students Up to Average? | National News | US News

The Myth That School Selection Boosts Exam Results – Forbes

By Nick Morrison

Selective education has had its reputation demolished as new research busts the myth that school selection boosts exam results.

A new study shows that the difference in results between selective and non-selective schools owes more to their students’ genes than to the quality of education the schools offer.

Analysis of thousands of student records found that selective schools added very little value, and that their students did no better than they would have at a non-selective school.The findings blow a hole in the case for selection, which has been a touchstone issue for some in education for more than 40 years.

Source: Busted: The Myth That School Selection Boosts Exam Results

High School Voter Education Weeks – Letters (CA Dept of Education)

As we approach the upcoming statewide primary and general elections this June and November, it is important to ensure that our students are learning to become active and engaged participants in our democracy. It is never too early to motivate your students to get involved. That’s why we strongly encourage your school to observe High School Voter Education Weeks on April 16-27 to put your students on the path to a lifetime of civic engagement and voting. With online pre-registration available for sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds, it’s easier than ever to get students prepared to cast their own ballots. Once pre-registered, they will automatically become active voters on their 18th birthday.

California Education Code designates the last two weeks of April and September as “High School Voter Education Weeks” and authorizes schools to designate students as “voter outreach coordinators.” With county elections officials as partners, we provide resources to make it easy for schools to participate. Teachers can help eligible students pre-register or register to vote either on a paper form or online. Voter outreach coordinators can lead registration drives and other school activities aimed at civic participation.

Source: High School Voter Education Weeks – Letters (CA Dept of Education)

‘March for Our Lives’ draws hundreds in Benicia – Benicia Herald

By George Johnston

Marches have been rare throughout Benicia’s history. Mayor Elizabeth Patterson claimed the last one was held in the World War II era. However, that changed when 800 to 1,500 people filled the streets of downtown Benicia for the March for our Lives.

Like the thousands of other Marches for Our Lives events held throughout the world in response to the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. people from all over Solano County gathered in Benicia to call for tighter gun control laws and protest gun violence.

The march began around 10 a.m. at the bottom of the First Street. Students of all ages lead the march downtown. Those on the sidewalks could hear such chants at “No more silence, end gun violence,” “Spread love, not hate. We just want to graduate” and “Never again” filling the air. The march ended at the gazebo in City Park where the speech portion of the rally was to begin.

Source: ‘March for Our Lives’ draws hundreds in Benicia

Students showcase scientific chops at Solano science fair – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Students from across Solano County completed their participation in a two-day science showcase Friday that saw projects from elementary schoolchildren to high schoolers take over the gym at Vanden High School.

The annual Solano County Science/STEM Fair opens the door for qualifying students to enter the California State Science Fair next month at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Solano County’s science fair was open to sixth- through 12th-graders.

It’s a competition based on the quality of experiments presented through exhibits, according to event organizers. The event is designed to stimulate an active interest in science, provide a quality educational experience, and to give public recognition to talented students for the work they have done in the field of science.

Source: Students showcase scientific chops at Solano science fair

Solano community leaders set to perform in ‘Dancing with the Stars’ event – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

Oakbrook Academy for the Arts – formerly Oakbrook Elementary School – will present a “Dancing With the Stars” showcase next month to benefit the school’s arts in education program.

The event will be from 7 to 9 p.m. April 7 at Joseph A. Nelson Community Center, 611 Village Drive.

Six of Oakbrook’s Dancing Dolphins performers will each be paired with local community leaders to include Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson, Rodriguez High School Principal Clarence Isadore, Fairfield-Suisun School District administrator Sheila McCabe and others.

Source: Solano community leaders set to perform in ‘Dancing with the Stars’ event

Benicia youth lead protest for peace – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

The city’s youth spoke out against being afraid to go to school, called out the government for not doing enough to protect them from gun violence and demanded change as they marched Saturday down First Street – one of more than 800 March for Our Lives rallies that took place across the country.

Benicia High School students organized the event but they were not alone in their anger with the gun violence; several hundred adults marched alongside them.

“We had a fire drill the other day at school,” said Shannon Sweeney, 17, a student at Benicia High. “I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Is this it? Is there a shooter on campus?’

”Sweeney was one of the organizers who helped bring about the march. She said her goal was to help everyone feel safe, every day, at school and in their community.

Source: Benicia youth lead protest for peace

Vallejo students, adults take stand against gun violence – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

The March for Our Lives event was about the youth Saturday and hundreds of adults were there to support them.

More than 800 marches were held across the country and some might say it was a continuation of the student walkouts last week in protest of the 17 people killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Isabel Reyes of Vallejo still grieves for her son, Eric Reyes, who died in February 2016 because of gun violence. She formed the Eric Reyes Foundation in his memory and helped sponsor the march.

“Youth are killing youth,” she said. “We have a lot of gun violence in the community.”

Source: Vallejo students, adults take stand against gun violence

Vallejo school district launches news website – Times Herald

By Times Herald Staff

The Vallejo school district has launched a new website highlighting student achievement, staff recognition and informing the community about district programs.

Called VCUSD Journal, the website contains press releases from the district, an events calendar, along with features on staff and students.

“Often there is a narrative that sheds a negative light on our students, staff, and programs,” Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Adam Clark said an announcement about the new website. “There are many things taking place in the district that our students and employees would like to share.”

The website can be accessed from the district’s homepage — — by clicking the banner

Source: Vallejo school district launches news website

Trump Signs Executive Order Reviewing Federal Role in Education – NBC News

By Mary Emily O’Hara

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday aimed at decreasing the role of the federal government in education while giving states and local school districts more power over decision-making.

Trump called the called order, which directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study federal overreach in education, “another critical step to restoring local control, which is so important.”

“We know that local communities do it best and know it best,” the president said as he stood flanked by DeVos, Vice President Mike Pence, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and others.

Source: Trump Signs Executive Order Reviewing Federal Role in Education

New Book Keeps Thumb On SAT Side Of Standardized Testing Debate – Forbes

By Willard Dix

If you’ve never had the pleasure of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin or if you can’t get enough of graphs, charts, tables, endnotes and obscure equations, you might try reading Measuring Success: Testing, Grades, and the Future of College Admissions, edited by Jack Buckley, Lynn Letukas and Ben Wildavsky. It’s a collection of eleven papers purporting to debate the value of standardized testing in the college admission process. After reading it, one might reasonably ask what the point of the exercise was, since it appears the “debate” had a foregone conclusion.

Let’s first stipulate that this book is not for the general reader, but for the theologians and alchemists of the testing and admission industries comfortable with magical symbols and runes designed to communicate the secrets of the order to each other. If you are one of those people, you’ll find plenty to enjoy, and more power to you. But you won’t find anything conclusive to answer the question of whether standardized testing is valuable or not, either.

Source: New Book Keeps Thumb On SAT Side Of Standardized Testing Debate

Kajukenbo March Awards – Daily Republic

By Heather-Rae Sanderson

Join the PAL Kajukenbo Club and enhance your martial arts skills, track your progress with belts and more under the guidance and support of a World Champion!

The Fairfield Police Activities League’s (PAL) Kajukenbo Club recently awarded new belts. Kajukenbo belts provide a goal for members to strive towards and accomplish. Most importantly, each belt provides a base line to help students track their progress and mastery of the sport.

Source: Good News:

War vets to get high school diplomas as part of ‘Operation Recognition’ – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Veterans whose service in World War II, Korea and Vietnam prevented them from receiving their high school diplomas will be given their credentials at an “Operation Recognition” ceremony March 29.

The Solano County Office of Education will host the event that will recognize those whose high school educations were interrupted by the wars.

Local Vietnam veterans will also be recognized as part of National Vietnam Veterans Day. Veterans group organizers hope to see about 100 local Vietnam veterans attend the ceremony. They will be awarded Department of Defense memorabilia such as Vietnam Veteran Presidential proclamations, lapel pins, buttons and bumper stickers.

Source: War vets to get high school diplomas as part of ‘Operation Recognition’

Vacaville to host middle school socialite night – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

A seventh- and eighth-grader Socialite Night is scheduled from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Ulatis Community Center with dancing, video games and a chance to hang out with friends in a safe, supervised setting.

The event will allow participants to use their social media account to play and win gift cards to Dutch Bros., or to the movies. There will also be a “Famous” challenge and Snapchat lip-sync battle.

The first 50 participants to arrive will get a door prize. Only parents and guardians can purchase tickets and proof of grade is required for first-time participants.

Source: Vacaville to host middle school socialite night

Kindness Campaign seeks student videos – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Students in seventh through 12th grades are encouraged to participate in a countywide video contest that underscores the impact of positive behavior in Solano County.

The Kindness Campaign student video contest, sponsored by 4th District Supervisor John Vasquez and District Attorney Krishna Abrams, invites students to produce and submit a video that is between 30 seconds and two minutes in length that expresses what the power of kindness can accomplish at school, at home and in our communities to make a positive difference.

All videos must be submitted by or before April 20.

Source: Kindness Campaign seeks student videos

Operation Recognition to honor vets, internees with diplomas – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

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. For some, dreams of high school graduation evaporated with the advent of armed global conflict or deployment to East Asia in the early 1950s or Southeast Asia in the 1960s and early ’70s. Many never received a high school diploma.

For the second time in as many years, the Solano County Office of Education will honor those veterans and internees during a special event called Operation Recognition, as a way to formally acknowledge their sacrifices and service during the frenzied days of war.

The ceremony and presentation of diplomas, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. March 29, will be in SCOE offices, 5100 Business Center Drive (near Costco), Fairfield.

Source: Operation Recognition to honor vets, internees with diplomas