State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today congratulated 30 California public schools that have been chosen as 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools. This coveted award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students achieve high learning standards.
“Congratulations to these schools that have tremendous programs dedicated to, and invested in, creating state-of-the-art learning and teaching environments,” Thurmond said. “This recognition is well-deserved, and special thanks go to the educators and the school communities that meet students’ unique needs in order for all of their students to reach their full potential.”
The award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. In its 37-year history, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has presented this award to more than 9,000 schools.
Source: 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Nick Sestanovich
Elected officials, school board trustees and superintendents from throughout Solano got an understanding Thursday of the current state and future of education at Solano County Office of Education’s annual State of Education Breakfast Forum.
State superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond was the guest speaker.
With the theme of “Full STEAM Ahead,” the breakfast was an opportunity to bring educators, business leaders and elected officials together for a discussion on educational opportunities and showcase what certain school districts are doing to prepare students for the workforce in the new decade, particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.
Source: State schools superintendent discusses education at Solano breakfast – The Reporter
Hundreds of California school administrators hired decades ago are collecting retirement incomes that are too big to qualify as public pensions under federal tax law.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System issued payments last year for 359 pensions over the IRS public pension limit, according to the retirement system’s data.
CalSTRS sends the retirees and beneficiaries on the list two checks each month: one for the maximum pension disbursement and another that is classified and taxed as wages according to a process outlined in IRS code.
Source: Hundreds of California school administrators have pensions that exceed IRS limits [The Sacramento Bee]
By Todd R. Hansen
Lynda Donahue has for weeks been training as though she were about to run a half-marathon.
In reality, the Fairfield resident and retired director of special education at the Vacaville School District is just preparing to go out to play a round of golf – a 100-hole round of golf.
“I’m actually doing it for the Youth on Course Foundation, which is an organization that is part of the Northern California Golf Association,” Donahue said from Texas, where she is playing in another tournament.
Source: Fairfield woman ‘100 percent’ committed to youth, women’s golf
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in partnership with county offices of education throughout the state, hosted a virtual town hall yesterday where local educational agencies spoke about some of the unique challenges they face in ongoing efforts to close the achievement gap for California’s most vulnerable students.
“This town hall was an opportunity for me and key members of my team to hear first-hand from districts and staff members who are working with students at risk of falling through the academic cracks,” said Thurmond. “We can’t provide an effective system of support if we don’t know what the challenges are at the local level and what is truly needed to ensure that all of our students have opportunities and access to a quality and equitable public education.”
Source: Virtual Town Hall “Listening Session” – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano Safe Routes to School program is encouraging students and their family members to walk to school Oct. 2 as part of the “Safe Route Superhero” program on International Walk to School Day.
“Walking with friends, family and neighbors on International Walk to School Day builds community and shows how individuals can make a difference in improving safety by having fewer cars on the road,” Harry Price, chairman of the Solano Transportation Authority and mayor of Fairfield, said in a statement released by transportation agency. “Walking to and from school is also a great way for kids to get more physical activity and offers parents the opportunity to teach them important pedestrian safety skills.”
Source: ‘Walk to School Day’ set Oct. 2 in Solano County
By Nick Sestanovich
It is not often that the past, present and future can be equally represented, but that’s what the Governing Board of the Dixon Unified School District got Tuesday.
Officials received a glimpse at the construction progress of two of the district’s largest projects — the new farm at Dixon High School and the remodel of the old DHS campus to make way for the new middle school campus — during a special school board meeting.
In a tour attended by board trustees Jewel Fink, Luke Foster and Melissa Maseda; Superintendent Brian Dolan, Nick Girimonte, assistant superintendent of educational services; and Tad Smith, chairman of the Measure Q Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, officials got to see how the two large-scale projects are coming along. The tour was led by Jim Bombaci, the senior project manager for School Site Solutions which is constructing both projects.
Source: DUSD officials tour Dixon High farm, future middle school campus – The Reporter
By John Glidden
As the Vallejo City Unified School District prepares to transition to by-trustee area elections, district officials have released three different maps for community review.
The maps show how the district could be split into five distinct trustee areas, which would go into effect for the November 2020 election.
The board in April approved a resolution to change the election format from at-large, with each trustee being elected by the entire city electorate, to by-trustee areas, meaning each trustee will represent a portion of the city and be elected by residents in that particular area.
Source: Vallejo school district releases proposed trustee maps – Times-Herald
By Richard Freedman
While a 16-year-old Swedish girl chastised politicians on Capitol Hill this week, sister charter schools in Vallejo held a Global Climate Action Rally Day of their own.
Activist Greta Thunberg enlightened the suits in Washington, D.C., hoisting a sign in Swedish “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” (“School Strike for Climate”).
“I don’t want to be heard all the time, but if there is anything I can do to improve the situation then I think it’s a very small price to pay,” Thunberg told CNN.
Young people took to the streets in protest worldwide, including thousands in New York City.
Source: Charter schools rally, march for Global Climate Action Day – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
A discussion and action regarding the relocation of Country High School operations that was scheduled to be heard at Thursday’s school board meeting has been postponed, Vacaville Unified School District Superintendent Jane Shamieh announced in a letter Friday.
Earlier this week, VUSD announced it had agendized a discussion regarding a proposal to establish two smaller continuation campuses for Country High students on the grounds of Vacaville and Will C. Wood high schools. Shamieh wrote in the earlier letter that the goal was to give Country High students easier access to Career Technical Education courses and allow Country High students who were caught up on their credits to transition back to their home campuses to finish up their remaining credits for graduation.
Source: VUSD postpones discussion of proposed Country High School changes – The Reporter
By Todd R. Hansen
A student wellness center opened this week at Golden Hills Community School, the first in a $1.7 million investment to open 25 centers in the school-based Wellness Center Initiative launched by the Solano County Office of Education.
“As educators and community leaders, we know that mental health can create significant barriers to effective learning. School-based wellness centers can create opportunities to destigmatize mental health, foster open dialogue with students around issues like suicide prevention or bullying, and teach coping strategies that build resilience and help students manage stress before negative behaviors or violence occur,” Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement released Friday by her office.
Source: First Solano student wellness center opens; goal is for 25 countywide
By Richard Bammer
Educators have long believed that keeping kids interested and focused in the classroom can stem the dropout rate, an idea confirmed by recent Solano County, state and U.S. Department of Education statistics that reveal four-year high school graduation rates have increased over the past decade, topping 80 percent in many school districts.
The key is meeting students’ academic, social and emotional needs. But, in the first two decades of the 21st century, marked by a tragic series of school shootings and other daily toxic stress, it is the latter aspect that is getting more attention from school leaders, counselors and teachers, said Kim Govi, foster and homeless youth program manager for the Solano County Office of Education in Fairfield.
“There is an increasing focus on mental health and it has become a priority in Solano County,” she said Wednesday at the Golden Hills Community School wellness center on Clay Bank Road in Fairfield, which celebrated a ribbon-cutting event earlier in the morning. “We are expanding mental health services and support.”
Source: SCOE official: School wellness centers ‘really about youth engagement’ – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
Major changes could be coming to Country High School, Vacaville Unified School District’s continuation school, in the 2020-21 school year. The VUSD Governing Board will be discussing a proposal to establish two smaller continuation campuses on the Vacaville and Will C. Wood High School properties at its Sept. 26 meeting.
According to a letter to families sent by Superintendent Jane Shamieh, major goals of the proposed change include providing Country High students with access to Career Technical Education (CTE) courses and making it easier for students who have caught up on their Country High credits transition back to their home school to finish the credits needed to graduate.
The core classes would be taught in self-contained classrooms on the comprehensive school sites by Country High staff. Students would be placed on campuses determined by their residence, Shamieh wrote.
Source: School board to discuss changes to Country High School – The Reporter
By The Reporter
The community is invited to a Constitution Day talk Thursday at Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road in Fairfield.
Keynote speaker Don Specter, executive director of the Prison Law Center, will speak on the Eighth Amendment and the landmark case, Plata v. Brown 563 U.S. 493 (2011).
His talk begins at 5 p.m. in the Performing Arts/Theatre , Building 1200. The event is free, as is parking in Lot 2 after 4:30 p.m.
Source: Solano College celebrates Constitution Day – The Reporter
By The Pioneer
“Education saved my life,” Robert Martinez said last week in his office for the past month as the new Mt. Diablo Unified School District Superintendent.
He grew up in Southern California as the youngest child in a middle class Mexican American family home, where his parents insisted their children speak English. His life changed forever after his mother died when he was 13.
Within three years he uprooted himself from the home he shared with his overwhelmed dad to move in with an older brother, who required that to stay there the 16-year-old needed to go to school and get a job.
Source: Teenage years shaped Superintendent Martinez’s career, educational views |
By Natalie Gross
The hazards of vaping have gained national attention in recent months as a spike in related illnesses have led advocates, lawmakers and even the president to decry the industry. And now, administrators and school leaders are grappling with how to properly address it in their local schools.
Elizabeth D’Amico, a behavioral scientist with the RAND Corp., recently said that the rise in the popularity of vaping among teens is somewhat to blame on misinformation. Students seem to think vaping is not as harmful or addictive as traditional cigarettes. Yet, as previously reported, half of the teens who vape go on to use combustible cigarettes in one year. And according to the U.S. Surgeon General, the chemicals in e-cigarettes can harm adolescent brains, which are continuing to develop until the age of 25.
Source: School districts deploy vaping sensors in e-cig crackdown | Education Dive
By John Glidden
Two things were certain for little Isadora Grumio, 7, on Saturday in downtown Vallejo.
First: She is a proud student at Annie Pennycook Elementary School. Second: Fake bear scat is still gross even if it’s not real.
“I didn’t like,” Grumio said. “It smelled like rubber. Gross.” She did show off a water bottle that was adorned with the Pennycook name — so Saturday wasn’t a total loss.
Grumio was one of hundreds who stopped by the U.S. Forest Service booth as part of the annual Visions of the Wild Film and Arts Festival. Called the Nature Discovery Zone, fake scat from various animals, including grey wolves, was also on the table.
Source: Residents learn about preventing forest fires – Times-Herald
By Elizabeth Aguilera
California has a new vaccination law on the books. It cracks down on inappropriate use of medical exemptions that allow kids to skip some or all vaccines and still enter school. It gives power over the exemption process to public health officials and will create a vaccination database of all children with medical dispensation.
Supporters of the law are pleased that doctors will no longer be the final authority on medical exemptions and could be investigated if they write too many. The more children who get vaccines, the safer schools will be for all kids, the proponents say.
Critics fear the law will effectively shut down access to waivers for kids who could be harmed by vaccines, which carry some risk, or who need them for other medical reasons. Doctors may fear the investigative provisions of the law, opponents say, and thousands of children could even be tossed out of school if they are not fully up-to-date on vaccines.
Source: Five things to know about California’s new vaccine law – The Reporter
The Solano College Sports Medicine program teamed up with the Solano County Office of Education to visit Vanden High School this week.
Solano College athletic trainer and sports medicine faculty Bailey Schentrup spent the day teaching students from Miss Smith’s medical science classes hands-on skills such as athletic taping techniques, basic anatomy palpation skills, and stretching techniques.
Students were introduced to several therapeutic exercise fields of study, including the Solano College Sports Medicine/Athletic Training major and its courses.
Source: Schentrup, Sports Medicine Visit Vanden High School – Solano College
By Richard Freeman
First off, it’s Smokey Bear. Not Smokey The Bear. No parents would doom their offspring with “The” as a middle name.
Yes, there’s Eddie Arnold’s 1952 song, “Smokey The Bear” – “Smokey the Bear, Smokey the Bear. Prowlin’ and a growlin’ and a sniffin’ the air” — but it’s wrong, said Steve Dunsky, a veteran U.S. Forest Service employee and coordinator of the “Visions of the Wild,” a four-day nature festival running Thursday through Sunday.
Not only does Smokey remain as the iconic figure of the Forest Service, he apparently has a personal trainer.
Source: ‘Visions of the Wild’ bears all in Vallejo – Times-Herald