By George Johnston
Next month, 10 years of work will pay off for Benicia High School senior Jason Own. On June 23, Own will be awarded the status of Eagle Scout and achieve one of his lifelong dreams.
Own, 17, was born in Vallejo. He was enrolled in Boy Scouts in the third grade after his mother signed him up for the program, believing it would help her son make friends. He stuck with the Boy Scouts through the years because of the impact it had in his life. He joined Troop 7064, which is chartered by First United Methodist Church in Vallejo, six years ago. In his troop, he has served as patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, scribe, instructor and quartermaster. Additionally, he volunteered as a Cub Scout camp counselor for two summers and was a member of the Order of the Arrow, a national Boy Scouts honor society.
Source: Benicia High School senior ready for Eagle Scout rank
By Ian Thompson
It was 2001 when then-Solano Community College student Monica Samo spent one day a week planting the seed of learning a second language by teaching French to children in elementary school.
“It was an amazing experience. Now, I get to see my child experience this,” Samo said of now watching her own elementary school-age son Dominic Samo learn French from another Solano College student.
Samo said she has brought some of her teaching materials out of the closet and plans to continue to expand her son’s command of French.
“This is a perfect age,” Samo said. “They are such enthusiastic learners.”
Source: Fairfield-Suisun children get early introduction to foreign languages at Solano College
By Jessica Rogness
The 15th annual Loop the Lagoon race brought in nearly $7,000 for the Vacaville Public Education Foundation (VPEF).
More than 800 people participated in the April 28 event in Lagoon Valley, a partnership between Fleet Feet Sports Vacaville and VPEF.
Carol Gilpin, owner of Fleet Feet and race director, and Nolan Sullivan, VPEF board president, led this effort with more than 100 volunteers. The day brought in a total of $6,902.
ACE Charter School had the most attendees per population of school, so they received 100 percent of their entry fees, nearly $900.
Source: Loop the Lagoon nets more than $6,000 for Vacaville schools
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced “Global California 2030,” a bold initiative to vastly expand the teaching and learning of world languages and the number of students proficient in more than one language over the next 12 years.
The initiative aims to better prepare California students for the 21st century economy, broaden their perspective and understanding of the world, and strengthen the diversity of backgrounds and languages that make California’s culture and economy vibrant and dynamic.
“The mission of Global California 2030 is to equip our students with the world language skills to succeed in the global economy and to fully engage with the diverse mixture of cultures and languages found in California and throughout the world,” Torlakson said. “We are setting high goals and dreaming big to help our students and our state.”
Source: Torlakson Launches Global CA 2030 Initiative – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Jonathan Kaplan
When it comes to addressing the state’s shortage of bilingual teachers, there’s good news and bad news. First, the bad news: The shortage is serious. According to a survey conducted last year by Californians Together, a majority of California K-12 school districts (53%) reported having a shortage of bilingual teachers, and nearly 1 in 4 of all districts (23%) characterized it as a major shortage. In the aftermath of Proposition 58, a ballot measure approved in 2016 that removed longstanding restrictions on bilingual education, a majority of K-12 districts (58%) planned to expand their bilingual programs. However, a large share of these districts (86%) said that their current supply of bilingual teachers is insufficient to staff an expansion of their bilingual education programs.
The good news is that there are opportunities to make progress in addressing this shortage in the near term. California schools already employ thousands of teachers who have bilingual teaching certifications but who work in English-only classrooms. Last year’s budget package provided $5 million to create the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program, a competitive grant program that provides training and support for teachers already authorized to teach English learners, but who have taught in English-only classrooms for at least three years. The program also is designed to help train bilingual paraprofessionals who want to become bilingual teachers.
Source: Will This Year’s Budget Provide Funding to Address the State’s Bilingual Teacher Shortage? – California Budget & Policy Center
By John Glidden
An excited buzz permeated the air Tuesday as parents, kids, and school leaders celebrated the grand opening of the new Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy school.
Caliber students Lucas Norris and Zah Rai Francois stole the show when they jointly declared the two-story school, located on Oregon Street, as “officially open!”
A jubilant cheer erupted from the 150 in attendance.
The second loudest reaction came earlier in the program when Caliber co-founder Ron Beller reminded the audience about the history of the land.
Source: Caliber opens school in Vallejo
By Nick Sestanovich
Thursday’s school board meeting will be the last of the 2017-18 year while school is in session— and if the agenda is any indication, it will be the busiest of the entire year by far.
One of the biggest items is a public hearing on Benicia Unified School District’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year. Chief Business Official Tim Rahill predicts that the district will operate at a one-time surplus of $88,000— including costs of employee negotiations from the employees’ tentative agreements from 2017-18 and 2018-19— and provide for the state’s 3 percent Reserve for Economic Uncertainties and the Local Board Policy Reserve— which would provide an additional 4 percent reserve.
Additionally, Rahill wrote in a PowerPoint that BUSD continues to receive most of its fundings from the state, namely its Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) system. According to Rahill, the LCFF is fully funded in the budget and includes a funding reduction for 71 fewer students, annual increases in operating costs and program costs from the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). The district is also anticipating a decline in 24 students for the 2018-19 school year.
Source: BUSD budget among items on packed school board agenda
By Nick Sestanovich
Nathan Curtright moved to Benicia from Las Vegas, and although he could have attended Benicia High School, he figured it would not work with his schedule.
“I probably would have had to wake up around 4 and catch the bus,” he said. “It would have been a more difficult day.”
Instead, Curtright opted to go to Liberty High School, which is closer to where he lives. Despite having an uncle who attended the school many years ago and told him negative things, Curtright instantly felt welcome.
“I like the atmosphere of the school,” he said. “It’s really nice. Everyone here is nice. Teachers are outgoing and caring, so I decided to stay.”
Source: Top Liberty graduates finish ahead of schedule
The 2018 graduation season in central and eastern Solano County is underway, with most of the ceremonies, pomp and circumstance occurring next week.
Solano Community College minted new graduates earlier this week in Hollister Stadium at main Fairfield campus.
Source: Area high school graduations, the pomp and circumstance, are set
By Daily Republic Staff
Ten graduates from Vacaville public high schools have been awarded scholarships from the Harry and Eleanor D. Nelson Vacaville Endowment Fund.
Seven of the scholarships are four-year awards for $3,500 per year. The others are one-year scholarships.
The four-year scholarships are going to Alyssa Barling (Vacaville High); Jenna Kitzes, Brett Stout and Sarah Williamson (Will C. Wood); and Ruth Bowen, Zoe Johnson, and Asia Lew-Douglas (Buckingham).
Source: Foundation announces 10 scholarships to Vacaville grads
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Graduates in the 72nd commencement exercise at Solano Community College received their degrees and certificates, Thursday, in front of a standing-room-only crowd at “Doc” Hollister Stadium.
Family and friends battled gusty winds and cool temperatures to cheer on the Class of 2018, which also included summer 2017 graduates.
The thick program prompted one attendee to inquire, “They are giving all these people degrees?”
There was a last-minute scramble as graduates outnumbered the seats on the field. Just as the ceremony began, one balloon managed to escape from the stands and float over the Class of 2018.
Source: Family, friends cheer on Solano College Class of 2018
By Richard Bammer
A 24-year Reporter employee, Bammer this year earned a John Swett Award for Media Excellence for a series of six stories in the category of continuous coverage of schools/education issues. He competed in the Community Daily Newspaper class, for publications with up to 100,000 subscribers.
And as he did last year, he earned another Certificate of Merit, this time for a news story about Buckingham Charter High students and the American Civil Liberties Union taking Vacaville Unified to task for censorship of a Black Lives Matter article in the school’s yearbook. After The Reporter story was published, the student article, as written, and a photo showing several female students raising a “black power” salute were eventually restored to the yearbook.
“For us at The Reporter, we appreciate Richard’s hard work and attention to detail,” said Managing Editor Melissa Murphy. “He offers experience and knowledge to his colleagues and maintains great relationships with the community he covers. He appreciates being recognized for his work, but that’s not what drives him. Rather, he strives for producing great community journalism and he’s very successful at that.”
Source: Reporter staffer earns another CTA writing award
By Natalie Wexler
Higher academic standards like those in the Common Core were supposed to improve student performance, but new data shows that hasn’t happened. Teachers need more specific guidance than standards provide, and they need to build knowledge beginning in the early grades that standards don’t reach.
For the last thirty years, education reformers have pinned their hopes on rigorous academic standards. That movement culminated in the Common Core literacy and math standards, which most states have adopted. Once high standards were in place, the theory went, schools would adjust their teaching to meet them and test scores would rise.
Source: Why Common Core Standards Alone Won’t Boost Test Scores
By Cory Turner
Lawmakers have asked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos about an NPR report about a troubled grant program for public school teachers. Here’s NPR’s Cory Turner.
CORY TURNER, BYLINE: It’s called the TEACH Grant Program, and it’s supposed to give teachers money for college or a master’s degree if they promise to teach a high-need subject like math in a low-income school for four years. But NPR revealed that for years now, potentially thousands of teachers have had their grants converted to loans with interest because of minor paperwork problems. Kaitlyn McCollum, a high school teacher in Columbia, Tenn., will never forget the day she got the letter in the mail.
Source: Education Secretary DeVos Acknowledges Problems With Teacher Grant Program : NPR
By Mayrene Bates
As I do every year, I make every effort to attend as many year-end events as I possibly can. I love to celebrate the accomplishments of educators, students, parents, nonprofits, the business community and, even the newspaper reporters who take the pictures and write the stories.
That’s what makes all of these events so great, because we celebrate as a community the accomplishments of everyone involved. Needless to say, there’s not enough space here to write about every successful program across the county.
Someone once said that throughout history, there have been few events of significance that have occurred purely by accident. We know that success happens, because many care enough to make a difference for the good of all. According to Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”
Source: Solano Voices: Year-end events celebrate accomplishments
By Tim Goree
Free meals are available during the summer for children 18 years old and younger at many locations throughout Fairfield and Suisun City! For times and locations, see the attached flyers in English and Español, or visit the following FSUSD web page: http://bit.ly/2rYwPT0
Source: Free Meals for Kids and Teens During the Summer
By John Glidden
College credit, free tuition and textbooks — what’s the catch?
Apparently none, as Solano Community College, in partnership with the Vallejo City Unified School District, is offering the opportunity for local high school students to enroll in one of seven boot camp courses over the summer.
Source: Vallejo students eligible to earn college credit over summer
By Chris Arnold and Cory Turner
It’s a financial nightmare for public school teachers across the country: Federal grants they received to work in low-income schools were converted to thousands of dollars in loans that they now must pay back.
NPR revealed these problems in a series of recent stories. The Department of Education now tells NPR that it has launched a new “top-to-bottom” internal review of all aspects of the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grant program. Officials say that the review is aimed at fixing the issues and that the department is “absolutely committed to improving” the program.
“It’s ridiculous; it’s mind-boggling,” says Kaitlyn McCollum, a high school teacher in Columbia, Tenn., who is among the potentially thousands of teachers who met the teaching requirements for these grants but nevertheless were saddled with debt for money they never borrowed. “It’s been two years of torture.”
Source: Education Department Launches Review Of Teachers’ Grant Program : NPR Ed : NPR
Four students were recognized by Rep. Mike Thompson for the 2018 Student Leaders of the Year in Solano County, including two from Benicia High School. The students were nominated and selected based on their academic achievements, student leadership, community engagement and contributions to Solano County.
Benicia High senior Carson Rendell was honored for his efforts to keep students informed via his work as a student anchor on Benicia High’s “Panther TV” web program. The program is broadcast to the student body every Thursday during the school’s Access period and can be seen on YouTube. Rendell was also honored for helping to organize several rallies in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Back in February, including an on-campus rally and the communitywide march.
Benicia High senior Shannon Sweeney was honored for her role as senior class president. Sweeney helped organize several school events and volunteered several hours throughout the year. She also was instrumental in planning the vigil at City Park held 10 days after the Parkland shooting and was an active organizer in the subsequent rallies to prevent gun violence.
Source: Benicia High Schoolers honored as Solano student leaders by Rep. Thompson
By Kimberly K. Fu
Like magic Monday, Cooper Elementary third graders turned colorful bits of paper into delightful symbols of kindness.
Those fluttery flowers, made with deft hands and origami folds, will be set free today on the school’s gigantic bulletin board.
The activity, explained principal Tina Ahn, is part of last weekend’s “1,000 Flowers” event.
Source: Cooper students make kindness flowers, stars