State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that 323 elementary schools are being honored under the 2020 California Distinguished Schools Award Program. Sponsored by the California Department of Education and presented by California Casualty, the program recognizes outstanding education programs and practices. Schools are awarded for closing the achievement gap and for achieving exceptional student performance.
The list of recognized schools is attached at the end of this press release.
“These outstanding schools don’t just educate students; they also provide the young people of California the tools they need to be successful after graduation,” Thurmond said. “Thanks go to all the staff at these schools—teachers, administrators, classified employees—and parents, who are working together to provide high-quality educational experiences for all of their students.”
Source: Thurmond Announces 2020 CA Distinguished Schools – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Andrew Ujifusa
Federal lawmakers have struck a spending deal that would boost funding for the U.S. Department of Education to $72.8 billion in discretionary aid, a $1.3 billion increase that would include hundreds of millions of dollars more for big-ticket programs for public schools such as Title I and special education grants.
The fiscal 2020 appropriations bill, which must still be approved by the House and Senate before heading to President Donald Trump, also includes a $550 million increase for Head Start and a $25 million increase for Preschool Development Grants. Other programs to get more money under the deal include Title IV grants for academic enrichment and student supports, English-language acquisition, and after-school programs.
Source: Congress Mostly Snubs DeVos Agenda in Deal Increasing Education Spending – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Two Rodriguez High school cheerleaders will cross the pond later this month as members of the Varsity All-American Cheer Team.
There they will join with 70 other California cheerleaders — and 700 from the nation — as part of London’s New Year’s Day Parade.
The parade, according to its website, attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators to the streets of the West End each year. It’s a quintessentially British celebration blended with a kaleidoscope of world culture – and a generous helping of American razzamatazz, the website says.
Source: Rodriguez cheerleaders to be part of London’s New Year’s Day Parade
By John Glidden
The Vallejo school district has reached a tentative agreement with the non-teaching district employees for a two-percent salary increase and a one-time $500 bonus to each employee covered by the California School Employees Association (CSEA).
The tentative agreement will go before the Vallejo school board for approval on Wednesday.
It’s expected to cost the district $997,442 with a bulk of that cost, $488,756, set aside for the two percent salary increase retroactive to July 1, 2018. The increase will paid to the employees on Feb. 28, 2020.
Source: Vallejo school board asked to approve tentative agreement with California School Employees Association – Times-Herald
By John Glidden
Vallejo Unified School District officials anticipate there will be less than 10,000 students attending district schools by the 2021-22 school year, continuing the trend of declining enrollment.
The Vallejo school board on Dec. 11 unanimously approved the first interim report for the district’s budget — which includes anticipated student attendance.
Adrian Vargas, the district’s chief business official, said the district expects to have about 9,892 students in two years — down at least 1,300 students from the current count of 11,259. He noted student loss to ELITE Charter School and the new Griffin Academy High School as two of the primary reasons.
Source: Vallejo district gets budget update — expected to drop under 10,000 students in two years – Times-Herald
By Richard Bammer
The December holidays are a special time of year for billions of people worldwide, but Silveyville Christmas Tree Farm in Dixon became an especially magical yuletide universe of its own Friday morning for more than 100 Solano County special-needs children.
In its 28th year, the annual Special Needs Day at the Silveyville Road farm serves to brighten the holidays for these children. Most come from Solano public schools, from Vacaville and Dixon to Fairfield and Vallejo school districts, plus some from programs managed by the Solano County Office of Education in Fairfield.
By 10 a.m., teachers and parents herding excitable groups of children, 130 in all during the two-hour event and ranging in age from 3 to 18, walked happily through the farm’s gates, oblivious to the light rain falling, temperatures in the mid-50s and gloomy skies.
Source: A special two hours for special-needs kids in Solano County – Times-Herald
The California Department of Education (CDE) and the State Board of Education (SBE) today launched the 2019 California School Dashboard, a key component of the state’s school accountability system. The Dashboard includes the latest data available on 2018–19 graduation rates, suspension rates, test scores, English learner progress, college/career readiness, and chronic absenteeism.
“The California School Dashboard is a data-driven approach to provide the ‘whole picture’ of a school for educators and parents,” said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond. “The Dashboard empowers local communities to identify opportunities and resources to better serve their students, and provides parents and educators with meaningful information on school and district progress so they can participate in plans to improve student learning.”
Source: CDE Launches 2019 School Dashboard – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
On December 9 and 10, 2019, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and staff from the California Department of Education (CDE) participated in the 2019 California STEAM Symposium. The conference, held in Anaheim, is a collaborative effort with the CDE, the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, and the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.
With more than 3,000 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) educators and students participating, the conference provided professional learning, networking opportunities, and inspiring keynotes—including State Superintendent Thurmond in conversation with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, former NBA superstar, STEAM education advocate, and political activist. Other keynotes included Ellen Ochoa, former astronaut and director of the Johnson Space Center, and Chris Emdin, the founder of #HipHopEd.
Source: Thurmond, CDE, Students Attend STEAM Symposium – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By John Glidden
A special advisory committee is recommending that Vallejo Middle School be renamed in honor of longtime educator John Finney — however, not everyone agrees.
Committee members presented their ideas during Wednesday’s Vallejo school board meeting of renaming the former middle school site to the John W. Finney Education Complex. The complex would be home to a professional development center, independent study, the Everest Academy, and the continuation school named in Finney’s honor.
“John W. Finney had a long illustrious career in education as an administrator in this district,” said committee spokesperson Elissa Shanks Stewart.
Source: Committee recommends renaming Vallejo middle school in honor of John Finney – Times-Herald
By Daily Republic Staff
Golden West Middle School in Fairfield has received a $1,000 grant and Gretchen Higgins Elementary in Dixon was awarded $5,000 from the KNBR Step Up to the Plate for Education program with San Francisco Giants star Brandon Crawford.
The program, which also involves Wells Fargo, awarded $100,000 in grants to 32 schools “to support athletics, arts, STEM and community-based programs.”
Crawford presented the grants Thursday at Oracle Park.
Source: 2 Solano schools get Step Up to the Plate grants
By John Glidden
Eight different Vallejo school district properties – including the home of the oldest public school in the city of Vallejo – are up for possible closure.
A special Vallejo City Unified School District committee will hold a public hearing Dec. 17 to discuss the sale or leasing of the properties as the district continues to face financial challenges.
The list includes active school sites like Lincoln Elementary, Franklin Middle, Beverly Hills Elementary, and Farragut Academy, while the district’s main office building on Mare Island is also up for possible closure.
The former home of John Finney High School on Colusa Street and the shuttered Grant Elementary and Crest Center on Gateway Drive are the other district properties being considered.
Source: District eyeing possible closure of schools; public hearing Dec. 17 – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
Kindergarten and transitional kindergarten (TK) registration for the 2020-21 school year is now open for Travis Unified School District students. Children can be enrolled online at travisusd.org or by attending a priority registration event within the next two months at any of the district’s elementary schools.
Attending a priority registration event guarantees enrollment at a child’s school of residence. The events listed are as follows:
- Dec. 11: Scandia Elementary; 100 Broadway St., Travis AFB.
- Jan. 15: Center Elementary; 3101 Markeley Lane, Fairfield.
Source: Travis USD hosting priority registration events at all schools – The Reporter
By Daily Republic Staff
Registration for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classes in the 2020-21 Travis School District school year is now being accepted.
The district will hold priority registration events beginning Wednesday. Incoming students at other grade levels can register as well.
Source: Travis School District sets kindergarten registration dates
BY Thomas Gase
Rizal Aliga wants to tell Vallejo about all the good things occurring at Jesse Bethel High School. But instead of shouting the news from the rooftop, he has decided to just broadcast it.
Aliga, a 2016 graduate of Bethel and 2019 graduate of UC Santa Cruz, has helped start a lunchtime and after-school club that runs KJBJ, a group intended to give more coverage on the whole school that deals with radio, streaming, broadcasting and other journalism elements.
Teens in the group learn to use a camera, call play-by-play for numerous sporting events, talk into the microphone and use proper interviewing skills and then putting it all together for Mixcloud and the online site. Group participants also learn about editing skills and music, such as when to play certain music during games. The club covers just about every Bethel athletic activity and is intending to do a documentary for each of them.
Source: Jesse Bethel High graduate helping out with broadcasting club – Times-Herald
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced two outstanding high school students to represent California in the 58th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.
Violet Wang of Petaluma (Sonoma County), a senior at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma City Schools, and Arushi Avachat of Pleasanton (Alameda County), a senior at Foothill High School in the Pleasanton Unified School District, were selected for this highly competitive program for their remarkable leadership qualities, scholastic achievement, and strong commitment to their schools and communities.
“These students have demonstrated exceptional leadership. I am impressed and inspired by what they have already accomplished in their young lives,” Thurmond said. “They have a strong passion for public service and activism and desire to make a difference in the lives of others. I am confident that they will make the most of this opportunity, continuing to make positive contributions, and be excellent representatives for California.”
Source: CA Students Chosen for U.S. Senate Youth Program – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Arletta Kelley Cortright
The Fairfield – Nirasaki Sister City Program invites all interested high school students and their parents to attend an information meeting on Wednesday, December 11th, at 6 PM in the Fairfield Adult Recreation Center. Students can learn about participating in the 2020 summer exchange visit to Fairfield’s Sister City, Nirasaki, Japan. During the three-week stay, students live with host families and travel to Kyoto, Tokyo, Hiroshima, and many local historic and cultural sites in the Nirasaki area. This exciting opportunity is open to all high school students who reside in Fairfield or attend a Fairfield high school. Applications for the exchange group will be available at the meeting. In addition, the regular monthly Sister City Committee meeting will follow the information meeting at 7 PM, and students are welcome to stay for that meeting as well. The Adult Recreation Center is located at 1200 Civic Center Drive, Fairfield. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Press Release: High School Students Can Apply to Visit Japan
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today that public comment is now open for the draft California Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) State Plan. The plan was developed by the California Department of Education (CDE), California State Board of Education (SBE), and California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO).
“This plan is a significant opportunity to strengthen Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and pathways for all students in both the K–12 and community college systems,” Thurmond said. “I encourage educators and stakeholders in the CTE field to submit their valuable input on this plan. These programs provide valuable skills to meet industry needs.”
Perkins V was signed into law on July 31, 2018. This bipartisan measure reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 to provide nearly $1.3 billion annually in federal support for CTE programs across the nation. California receives approximately $127 million annually to support CTE programs and pathways.
Source: Public Comment Open for CTE State Plan – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Shawna De La Rosa
California was the first state to add funding for foster students’ needs some six years ago, but absenteeism among this group continues to be a factor. And they face difficulties beyond just poor attendance.
The Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD), which has the highest number of foster students in the country, announced earlier this year it would begin reporting the number of foster students in the district in addition to documenting how often those students change schools and their academic, social and emotional condition. Superintendent Austin Beutner will also develop pathways for foster students to segue into higher education through partnerships with colleges and other institutions.
Source: Transportation, mobility issues at root of California foster students’ high absenteeism | Education Dive
By Mike TeSelle
During the busy holiday shopping season, retailers go to great lengths to capture the attention of shoppers.
But a gift store aimed at selling the handmade goods of special needs students in Solano County is hoping shoppers will consider a visit to their unique gift shop inside Vacaville’s McBride Senior Center.
“They have worked so hard, but we have very few customers,” read a Facebook post advertising the gift store.
Source: Special store needs customers, wants San Francisco 49ers’ attention
By Nick Sestanovich
When Dixon middle schoolers return at the end of summer, they will not only be stepping onto a new campus but one with a new name.
The Dixon school board voted unanimously Thursday to rename CA Jacobs Middle School after longtime principal and educator John Knight when the school relocates to East A Street.
A committee of staff, students and parents was tasked with choosing a new name, mascot and school colors to signify a new beginning when CA Jacobs moves to the refurbished former Dixon High School campus at the start of the 2020-21 school year. The committee chose burgundy and gray as the new colors and Mavericks as the new mascot.
Source: Dixon school board selects John Knight as new middle school namesake – The Reporter