By Linda Jacobson
The Federal Commission on School Safety, which President Donald Trump formed in response to the February mass shooting at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, is expected to make final recommendations before the end of the year.
But most states and districts have moved ahead with their own safety measures, such as adding more school resource officers, upgrading equipment such as security cameras, and creating data-sharing agreements among state agencies.
“Local municipalities and local governments — they don’t wait,” Frank Clark, president of the Chicago Board of Education, said in an interview.
Source: School safety experts weigh in on federal commission’s potential impact | Education Dive
By Evie Blad
Many high school students believe their schools aren’t adequately preparing them for challenges they will face in college, career, and life, a new survey of current and recent students finds.
Among respondents to the nationally representative survey, 48 percent said their school is “pretty good as is,” while 43 percent said their school “needs to make some changes” and 9 percent said their school “needs to make a lot of changes.” The survey, administered by Hart Research and Civic on behalf on the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, asked students about a variety of school factors related to safety, relationships, and engagement.
“What they cite as the problem is a lack of development of social and emotional skills, everything from confidence to working with others who are different from them, problem solving, working through difficult emotions and stress…,” said John Bridgeland, the CEO of Civic. “Most students told us their schools aren’t cultivating these social-emotional skills and, to the extent they are, it’s through participation in organized sports and extracurriculars…Most didn’t see it in the classroom instruction and the larger culture of the school.”
Source: Survey: Students Say Schools Don’t Give Them Skills They Need to Succeed After Graduation – Rules for Engagement – Education Week
By Richard Bammer
Marking a fundamental change in how governing board members are elected, Vacaville Unified leaders tonight will consider choosing a by-area trustee map and are expected to approve a transition from at-large to by-area elections.
The special governing board meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Educational Services Center, 401 Nut Tree Road, Vacaville.
Formal approval of a resolution, which will follow a public hearing about draft trustee-area boundary maps, comes more than two months after trustees declared their intent to switch to the by-area format, some 50 days after communitywide hearings on the matter, nearly two weeks after public hearings on the proposed maps, and more than 18 months after a Reporter opinion piece urged the governing board to approve by-area elections to avoid a potential lawsuit.
Source: At VUSD, a public hearing and vote for by-area elections – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
An employee with the Solano County Office of Education has been appointed to fill the Travis Unified governing board seat vacated by the September death of Angela Weinzinger, it has been announced.
Russ Barrington, a fiscal analyst in the Special Education Local Planning Area at SCOE offices in Fairfield, will be sworn in during the Dec. 11 trustees’ meeting. He will fufill Weinzinger’s term, through December 2020, as if elected.
Appointed by unanimous vote during the trustees’ Nov. 13 meeting, he immediately afterward took a seat on the board and participated in his first meeting as a representative for the district’s Area 2.
Barrington was one of three applicants interviewed for the position. The others were former Foxboro Elementary Principal Lisa Eckhoff and former governing board member John Dickerson, who submitted his resignation effective minutes prior to the meeting in order to be considered for the position. His term was set to end in December.
Source: TUSD board appoints new board member – The Reporter
By Daily Republic Staff
Staff, faculty and students at Nelda Mundy Elementary collected nearly 1,000 pounds of candy as part of a candy collection contest running between October and November. The contest, first conceived by Fairfield’s GV Smiles dentist Dr. Evan Chang and coordinated by Mundy assistant principal, Sherry McCormick, principal Jeff Kubiak and teacher Maria Vermes. After the candy was collected, it was donted to two non-profit groups, Operation with Love from Home, and Operation Gratitude, which will coordinate to ship the candy to troops serving overseas.
Source: Mundy Elementary staff, students collect candy for troops
By Daily Republic Staff
Mary Farmar Elementary School in Benicia has received a $5,000 grant to buy instruments and equipment for its music program.
The grant comes from the KNBR Step Up to the Plate for Education program, which is funded by Wells Fargo and promoted by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.
“As a kid, my parents always emphasized the importance of an education – above and beyond participating in sports,” Crawford said in a statement announcing the grants. “As a Bay Area native, it is an honor to be part of a program that increases education and athletic programs for local kids.”
Source: Benicia school gets $5K from Crawford-promoted program
By Rebecca Klein
In the days since Camp Fire ravaged Butte County, consuming 150,000 acres and more than 10,000 homes, Annie Finney’s house has been turned into a makeshift school, filled with a group of eager second-graders.
Finney, a teacher at Children’s Community Charter School in Paradise, California, is one of the lucky ones. Most of her school burned down, but her house is still standing, which is more than many of her students and co-workers can say.
In the morning, students sit around her kitchen table, practicing math problems on a whiteboard that Finney borrowed from a neighbor. In the afternoon, they go outside for recess on her front lawn, wearing plastic masks to protect against the polluted air as they play basketball.
Source: In California, A County Of Children Without Schools | HuffPost
By Hallie Busta
DeVos continued her department’s deregulation of the for-profit sector last week, when she permanently reinstated federal recognition for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). The accreditor oversaw the for-profit chains Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute, whose collapses were spurred by the Education Department’s crackdown on the sector under the Obama administration and led to ACICS being stripped of federal recognition in December 2016. Federal recognition gives the accreditor’s colleges access to Title IV funding, which lets it offer students federal financial aid.
Source: House Democrats take aim at DeVos’ Education Department | Education Dive
By Jessica Campisi
An increase in school closures and a declining population can be attributed to factors inside and outside the education bubble. As the article notes, the U.S. birth rate is a key piece of the puzzle. This rate has proved to be inconsistent over long periods of time, but as a whole, it’s experienced a decline since the Great Recession in 2008. Spikes and dips revealed fluctuations in elements like the economy and population, as well as a few key social factors. Most notably, women are putting off marriage and motherhood to further their education and prioritize their careers. The bottom line: If there are fewer births, there are fewer children going to school.
Source: Declining US birth rate could beget lower public school enrollment, closures | Education Dive
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today reminded educators who close schools because of dangerous air quality that they can apply for a waiver to ensure they do not lose funding because of a drop in attendance. He also pledged that they would be assisted by administrators from the California Department of Education.
State law allows schools to continue to receive state funds from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) if they have to close because of a natural disaster such as floods, fires, earthquakes or other extraordinary conditions, such as hazardous air quality.
The California Department of Education does not keep precise numbers of school closings, but schools are closed in 22 counties.
Source: State Funding Will Continue for the Closed Schools – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today congratulated the California Department of Education and the Tribal Child Care Association of California for securing funds to address early learning disparities in tribal populations. Their Project HOPE grant provides the State of California the opportunity to strengthen its partnership with the Tribal Child Care Association of California to engage and continue work with tribes to support early learning and child care.
The association is made up of child care professionals specializing in working with tribal families, children, and communities. It focuses on the needs of tribally regulated child care and education settings both on and off tribal lands. The grant will be funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation via the BUILD Initiative.
“The State of California has never partnered with California tribes at such a deep level to support early learning,” said Torlakson. “The work funded by the Project HOPE grant builds on California’s groundbreaking memorandum of understanding with the Tribal Child Care Association of California, which was signed in November 2017 and formalized the CDE’s partnership with a group of tribal sovereign nations in California.”
Source: Addressing Early Learning and Child Care Disparity – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
A special meeting of the Vallejo City Unified School District is planned for 10 a.m. today — Monday, Nov. 26 — to do Superintendent Adam Clark’s overdue Performance Evaluation.
This will be done in closed session, with a public session to follow, to report any reportable actions taken during the closed session.
There are also a few vendor contracts the board will be asked to either accept or decline at this meeting, including one between the Vallejo City Unified School District.
Source: VCUSD Superintendent performance evaluation special meeting today – Times-Herald
By Joel Rosenbaum
School districts from Vallejo to Dixon are closed Friday as air quality continues to be poor due to drifting smoke from the Camp Fire in Paradise.
The message from Vacaville Unified School District Superintendent Jane Shamieh, posted on the district website, read: “We have decided to close schools and the district office tomorrow due to another forecast of air quality in the “unhealthy” range. Please know that we do not take closing schools lightly, and we understand that this can have significant financial impact on our families. Under normal circumstances, we would remain open at AQI levels of 151-200, however we have concerns about the prolonged exposure to staff and students occurring this week.”
Similar messages were posted on the district pages of the Travis, Dixon, Fairfield-Suisun, Kairos Public Schools and Vallejo school district websites.
Source: Unhealthy air quality closes schools countywide Friday – The Reporter
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Though given the day off in deference to the very unhealthy air quality resulting from the devastating Camp Fire in Butte County, not all Vallejo City Unified School District personnel stayed home.
Some chose to work, anyway, Superintendent Adam Clark said.
“All schools and the district office are closed to the public (Friday),” Clark said. “However, if employees wish to work, we will not stop them. There are many deadlines that still need to be met.”
Clark said he was at work Friday, because he felt compelled to be there.
Source: Vallejo schools close for health reasons, some work through it – Times-Herald
Many Bay Area school districts are canceling classes due to smoke from the Camp Fire.
Source: Here’s a List of Bay Area Schools Closed Due to Smoke From Camp Fire – NBC Bay Area
By Daily Republic Staff
Anyone who wishes to represent Trustee Area 4 on the Solano County Board of Education can apply with the Office of Education.
The deadline is 5 p.m. Nov. 30.
Trustee Area 4 is comprised of central and western Fairfield and Suisun City.
The vacancy has been created with the pending departure of Mayrene Bates, who resigned her position for personal reasons effective Dec. 29 or upon the appointment of her replacement. The appointee will hold the office until Nov. 3, 2020, when the final two years will be filled by election.
Source: Solano schools office readies applications for board vacancy
By Fairfield Suisun Rotary Club
The Fairfield Suisun Rotary Club will partner with Kaiser Permanente this year to present its Fifth Annual Teen Good Character Awards, it was announced today.
“Kaiser Permanente has been a consistent partner with us through the years in providing quality programs to our youth. We are excited to co-sponsor this program with them this year,” said Kendall Hillman, Rotary Club President.
The Awards Ceremony will be held February 8, 2019, at the Kroc Center in Suisun starting at 6 PM.
Source: Good News: Kaiser and Rotary Team Up to Salute Good Teen Character
By Ian Thompson
The Travis School District’s governing board members unanimously appointed Russ Barrington to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Angela Weinzinger in September, the district reports.
Barrington was one of three applicants. The others were former Foxboro Elementary principal Lisa Eckhoff and former board member John Dickerson. Dickerson submitted his resignation effective minutes prior to the meeting in order to be considered. His term was set to end next month.
More than 2,000 votes Barrington received in last week’s election was the deciding factor as the remaining two board members, and presiding Solano County Board of Education Trustee Michelle Coleman, cast their votes.
Source: Travis trustees appoint Barrington to school board
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
Despite air quality made unhealthy by the smoke from the deadly fires to the north, Vallejo schools will remain open, though officials are keeping an eye on things, according to a letter sent to parents and staff from Superintendent Adam Clark.
“Many of us are concerned about the air quality and wondering if we are having school tomorrow,” the letter says. “Unfortunately, the smoky air is becoming increasingly common in California. All of our schools will be open tomorrow unless things change significantly. We have consulted with neighboring school districts in Solano and Contra Costa County.”
To help determine the best approach to outdoor activities for students under the circumstances, district officials are taking their cue from the Department of Health and Human Services’ “Air Quality and Outdoor Activity Guidance for Schools” document, co-authored by the EPA and the CDC, Clark said.
Source: VCUSD officials monitoring air quality, schools remain open – Times-Herald
By Todd R. Hansen
Marilyn Lewis wanted to be a veterinarian when she was growing up – and she took her dream seriously.
Lewis told the Solano County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that she took photos and studied just about every animal and critter she saw, and even wrote what she learned in a book.
All that hands-on training proved to be invaluable when Lewis found her true calling as a science teacher, a vocation that earner her Teacher of the Year honors for 2018-19.
Source: Board of Supervisors recognizes top Solano educator