By Bill Hicks
The Travis School District governing board honored a number of high-achieving students Tuesday and also recognized several long-serving teachers and staff members.
Vanden High School valedictorians Victoria Melton, Jane Frances-Uche and Alvin Vo, and salutatorians Jennea Bajala, Alana Silva Cacdac, Justin Milolajcik and Samantha Vanpelt, were recognized by the board for their academic achievements.
The board also recognized teachers and staff members who reached various service milestones.
Source: Travis trustees honor students, staff
By Ian Thompson
Phoenix Spark has seen three years of nurturing ideas into innovations.
It has allowed airmen the time, the technology and access to outside expertise to develop ways to improve how the Air Force does business defending the country.
That, in turn, empowers airmen to realize that they can make a change.
Three years after it started at Travis Air Force Base, Phoenix Spark, which was developed under the Air Force-level AFWERX program, has seen 25 other similar cells established at other Air Force bases in the U.S. and overseas.
Source: Phoenix Spark initiative gains strength after 3 years
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
The adoption of new textbooks, layoffs of teachers and other staff, end of year projections, the number of vacant positions and codifying new school start times are among the items set for consideration at Wednesday’s regular Vallejo City Unified School District board meeting.
Public hearings will be held before the adoption of about $1.7 million worth of new K-12 history and social science textbooks, based on the framework adopted by the state department of education in 2016.
The End of Year Projections for 2018-19, required for any district filing a “qualified” or “negative” certification, will show that all VCUSD funds should have positive balances for the period ending April 30.
Source: New textbooks, layoffs on tap for Vallejo school board meeting – Times-Herald
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s revised budget for fiscal year 2019–20. “Our Governor just announced the largest-ever investment in K–12 schools, with 45 percent of all proposed increased spending to benefit our schools. We applaud this commitment to public education, especially by adding funding to assist students with the greatest needs. The revision also makes significant investments in the recruitment and retention of qualified teachers, and supporting the financial burdens they face,” he said.
Governor Newsom proposed increasing K–12 education by $4.4 billion in non-Proposition 98 spending for the benefit of our schools, while Prop 98 funding is at $81.1 billion, the most it has been in years.“
I am pleased that Governor Newsom is placing a top priority on education and look forward to a strong, productive partnership with him, the Legislature, and all stakeholders in the next few years that will lift up all of our students by improving our education system and increasing the resources that go to our schools—today’s announcements prove his commitment to increasing funding for public education,” he said.
Source: Thurmond Praises Newsom’s K–12 Education Budget – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Manufou Liaiga-Anoa’i as Co-Chair of his statewide Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative. She will partner with Co-Chair Ryan Smith to lead work aligning with the initiative’s goals, which include addressing ways to close the achievement gap and improving educational outcomes for all California public education students.
“Manufou is a strong public servant and advocate for women, children, and all students,” said Thurmond. “I know that she will bring a unique voice and strong leadership to the Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative, which is one of the top priorities of my office.”
Thurmond launched his Closing the Achievement Gap initiative with a forum in February focusing on schools throughout the state that have shown success in closing the gap for African Americans and other students of color. He followed that up with a second forum in April to address recruitment and retention of teachers of color. Appointing Liaiga-Anoa’i and Smith as Co-Chairs of the initiative is the next step in assuring that these efforts continue with the highest priority and level of expertise.
Source: Co-Chair Named for Achievement Gap Initiative – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Nick Sestanovich
In the late morning hours Friday, special education students throughout Solano County got to have the Dixon May Fair all to themselves, enjoying the rides, livestock exhibitions and food — hours before the fair officially opened for the day.
The event, held by local Rotary Clubs throughout the county in conjunction with the Solano County Office of Education, has been a staple for 26 years. Bill Seiden, event chair and member of the Vacaville Noon Rotary Club, said it started in 1993 as a fishing derby.
“There had been a previous history of a special needs gathering at the May Fair,” he said. “When I learned that, we decided to move it here as a Special Needs Day at the fair, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”
Source: Special needs students get day to themselves at Dixon May Fair – The Reporter
By Christina Samuels
The U.S. Department of Education will appeal a judge’s ruling that could affect how school districts across the country spend millions of dollars in federal special education money.
The department has wanted to delay the implementation of a rule related to how states monitor their school districts’ identification of minority students for special education, in addition to their discipline or placement in restrictive settings. Districts found to have “significant disproportionality” of minority students in one or more of these areas, compared to white students, must set aside 15 percent of their federal special education funding to spend on remedies.
Source: Education Department to Appeal Decision on Special Education Bias Rule – On Special Education – Education Week
By Katy Murphy
As Gov. Gavin Newsom today prepares to reveal his latest budget proposal for a state flush with cash, lawmakers and interest groups are watching closely to see how the governor proposes to spend — or save — what appears to be an unprecedented windfall.
At hand is an update of the blueprint the governor unveiled in January: a $209 billion budget that included a general fund of $144 billion and a record-high surplus of $21.5 billion. It offered more money for schools, child care, affordable housing, wildfire prevention and the expansion of Medi-Cal availability to young undocumented adults, while shoring up budget reserves and paying down some of the state’s sizable pension debt.
Source: Gavin Newsom releases revised budget proposal today with huge surplus – The Reporter
By Sally Schilling
Shanneil Turner’s dream was to play on Vacaville High School’s basketball team. The 15-year-old was set on trying out, but one thing was standing in her way: shoes.
Her parents were going to buy her a pair, but they couldn’t afford it at that time, said Turner, who has been a Boys and Girls Club member since age 6.
Turner ended up borrowing a pair, but they were falling apart.
Source: 15-year-old girl launches “locker” to give back – The Reporter
By Ian Thompson
Summer is coming and so is the annual Vacaville City Coach Summer Youth Pass sale.
Youth from 6 to 17 years old can buy passes for $15 to ride City Coach from June to August.
Summer Youth Passes are available at the Vacaville City Hall Finance Department at 650 Merchant St., the McBride Senior Center at 91 Town Square Place, the Ulatis Community Center at 1000 Ulatis Drive, and Lucky grocery stores at 1979 Peabody Road or 777 E. Monte Vista Ave.
Source: Vacaville City Coach to offer summer youth passes
By Marissa Perlman
Lawmakers are once again pushing to require middle and high schools across the state to start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
They say data shows later start times means more sleep, and therefore higher attendance and better grades for students. Governor Jerry Brown shut down the bill last year, but now there’s hope Governor Gavin Newsom will think differently.
The Vacaville Unified School District has had a later start time for a full year. They could serve as a model for schools across Northern California if this legislation passes.
Source: Vacaville Unified School District Leads The Way For Later School Start Time – CBS Sacramento
By Chris Riley
Vallejo rocks in more ways than one. On Friday, students from Vallejo Charter School plan to let the whole city know, in a quiet display of kindness.
All week, kindergarten through sixth-grade kids have been working on a project of peace and civic action to coincide with over 100 Expeditionary Learning schools across the country for “Better World Day.”
“It’s a way to spread happiness,” said third-grade teacher Jennifer O’Brien. “Everyone paints a rock with a positive message on them and Vallejo Peace Project are going to pick up all the rocks and distribute them. It’s just a way to make people smile and make them happy when they find them.”
Source: Students rock Vallejo with kindness – Times-Herald
By Thomas Gase
For the second season in a row, Vallejo High graduate and San Francisco State track star Devanique Brown is the heptathlon winner of the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
Brown, a senior, ended up taking first place with a total of 4,945 points, one point better than her total score during her junior year in 2018. The heptathlon consists of seven events and a total score is compiled.
Brown was a three-sport athlete at Vallejo High, competing in track, basketball and volleyball. She was a Times-Herald Athlete of the Year candidate as a senior in 2015.
Source: Vallejo High graduate Devanique Brown wins heptathlon championship again – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
Daryl “DJ” Stilwell is more than just a custodian at Callison Elementary School. He is an integral part of the school who staff, students and parents know by name. He arrives early and leaves late to do the many tasks of his job, including power washing the concrete, blowing leaves, replacing items, providing emergency cleanup, helping students during emergencies or assisting with events like the annual 6th Grade Egg Drop.
“His position is almost as important, if not as important, as the principal or leadership role because the staff and the students feed off his energy,” Callison Principal Jessica Reed said.
It was this kind of dedication that led Reed to nominate Stilwell as Solano County’s Classified School Employee of the Year. The Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) took up Reed’s suggestion and bestowed Stilwell with the honor.
Source: Callison custodian named top Solano classified employee – The Reporter
We’re celebrating this seventh annual Attendance Awareness Campaign with the theme, We Belong in School! We are encouraging everyone to remember that students are more likely to attend school if they feel safe, connected and supported, and believe they can learn and achieve. The “We” emphasizes the need all students have to feel they belong in school. It also highlights the role everyone, from educators to health professionals, to local agency and business partners can play in creating welcoming and engaging schools that encourage daily attendance.
Source: Attendance Awareness Campaign Update for May 1
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
A 2010 Vanden High School graduate has her sights set next year on the Tokyo Olympics.
Renae Jackson, who worked as a lifeguard in Vacaville during her teen years, hopes to find a spot on the United States kayak team.
She has two chances to qualify:
• Finishing in the top six in the world this summer at World Championships.
• Being No. 1 in the Pan American Championships next spring.
Starting July 1, she begins training full time.
Source: Vanden grad seeks seat on US Olympic kayak team
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
The first $39 million in Measure S school bonds will be offered for sale this month, and “emergency” furniture and equipment buying was also approved at Wednesday’s Vallejo City Unified School District Board meeting.
The bond sale item passed unanimously with no discussion and only one comment — from frequent meeting attendee and one-time school board candidate Ryan Messano.
Messano reminded the board that he opposed the bond measure from the start and said that if the voting public had known the district was shedding students so rapidly that school closures were necessary, they would not have voted for it.
Source: Vallejo City Unified School Distirct bond sales to start – Times-Herald
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today honored six outstanding classified school employees for their dedication to California’s public school students.
“Meeting students’ basic needs, as well as their social and emotional needs, is essential to ensuring that every student can learn,” said Thurmond. “These dedicated employees make sure that kids have healthy meals, safe transportation on school buses, and have someone to talk to during difficult times in their lives—allowing California’s students to reach their greatest potential.”
The annual program honors six outstanding classified school employees from the following categories: Child Nutrition; Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities; Office and Technical Support; Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance; Support Services and Security; and Transportation. This year’s recipients were chosen from more than 100 nominations statewide.
Source: Classified School Employees of the Year Announced – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Bill Hicks
School districts throughout the county, by way of an event organized by the Solano County Office of Education, came together Tuesday to honor all teachers and support staff by recognizing some of the best in their positions.
Callison Elementary School’s DJ Stilwell, a custodian, was recognized with an educator of the year award, as was Benicia High School’s Matt O’Reilly, an arts and design teacher.
The Solano County Office of Education Educators of the Year Awards Ceremony, held at Suisun City’s Joseph A. Nelson Community Center, honored teachers of the year in each district, as well as support workers, which range from clerical, maintenance, student nutrition and similar roles.
Source: Solano schools honor Benicia teacher, Vacaville custodian
By Maggie Avants
Public Safety Academy in Fairfield is among the best high schools in America, U.S. News & World Report said Tuesday in its most comprehensive ranking yet of the nation’s high schools. More than 17,000 schools are ranked, an increase from 2,700 last year.
Public Safety Academy ranked 1,492nd nationally and 226th among California schools in the 2019 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings. Public Safety Academy, with an 84-percent AP (Advanced Placement) participation rate and a 98-percent graduation rate, was ranked the highest among Solano County schools.
Source: US News Best High Schools 2019: Fairfield-Suisun Schools On List | Suisun City, CA Patch