Often times in the art world, to be considered a professional artist means that you show your work in galleries and/or sell your work to others. This is certainly not the only definition for being a professional artist, but at least fourteen art students at Benicia High School will have earned the right to use it and can now call themselves “professional artists.” Last Saturday, at an artist reception at Arata Art Gallery seven works were sold to visiting art patrons, paintings that were a part of “Panther Perspective” an art show featuring the art submitted by Benicia High School students in Beth Seilonen’s art classes.
At the reception the following students were honored for their impressive art now on exhibit: Gabriel Pliego, Zoe Roberts, Fiona Lovett, Jay Lightfoot, Mackenzie Bradley, Charlotte Austria, William Bergeron, Spencer Owen, Allison A. Avery, Renee Cola Francesco, Marlie Fitzgerald, Hannah Marie Williams, Jamison Woy, and Mia Bonotan.
Source: ‘Panther Perspective’ a huge success: BHS students sell seven art pieces at Arata Art Gallery
Children’s Author, Andre’ Lewis, in partnership with Valero, is giving back to our community. On Feb. 11, Mr. Lewis visited all four elementary schools in the Benicia Unified School District. Mr. Lewis visited to share, Let’s Steam Ahead with third grade students. The central theme of Mr. Lewis’ book is to inspire a love of reading and writing through the exploration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
Representatives from Valero helped with funding to cover costs and assist Mr. Lewis in providing all third grade students with a free book to enjoy and share with their families. Present were representatives from the STEAM field.
Source: Let’s Steam Ahead author reads to Benicia students to inspire a love of reading
By John Glidden
As the Vallejo school district heads into a new fiscal year, trustees will get their first look at proposed budget cuts meant to keep the district fiscally solvent.
The Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education will meet Wednesday to receive information only about the district’s plan to slash at least $5.4 million from the 2020-21 fiscal year budget. Fiscal years run from July 1 to the following June 30.
The plan to be presented includes over $6 million in cuts with a bulk of that amount coming from the elimination of 62.81 full-time equivalency (FTE) positions.
Source: Vallejo school board gets first looks at additional cuts – Times-Herald
By Carolyn Jones
Special education in California should be overhauled to focus on the individual needs of students, with better training for teachers, more streamlined services and improved screening for the youngest children, according to a compilation of reports released today.
Those were some of the recommendations proposed in “Special Education: Organizing Schools to Serve Students with Disabilities in California,” a package of 13 reports and a summary produced by Policy Analysis for California Education, a nonpartisan research and policy organization led by faculty from UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Southern California and Stanford University.
“By almost every indicator you look at, special education in California is in dire need of improvement,” said Heather Hough, PACE’s executive director. “We need to rethink the way we organize schools, so students with disabilities are at the center and not at the fringes.”
Source: Special education in California in need of overhaul, researchers say – The Reporter
For years, the Jesse Bethel High girls tennis program struggled. However, with former player and 2006 graduate Mariella Dela Cruz now as the head coach, the Jaguars are making a lot of racket recently.
Dela Cruz guided the Bethel girls team to the North Coast Section playoffs in 2019 and on Saturday she was recognized for her hard work as she was named the Northern California High School Girls Coach of the Year by the United States Professional Tennis Association. Dela Cruz picked up her award Saturday at a luncheon at Stanford.
In an email shortly after she won the award Dela Cruz said, “I’m both humbled and proud of my teams for striving to be the best they could be.”
Source: Jesse Bethel High’s Mariella Dela Cruz wins state tennis coach award [Times-Herald, Vallejo, Calif.]
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Middle and high school students from the Fairfield-Suisun School District wasted no time seeking strikes and spares at the annual Adapted Physical Education bowling event.
More than 160 of them filled the bowling alley lanes at Stars. Pizza, soda and other treats were served to the bowlers, all with varying levels of skills.
Shirley Cavasos was accompanied by 30 young people from Rodriguez High School, Green Valley Middle School and Oakbrook Elementary.
Source: Adapted physical education students bowl for joy, thanks to Joy
By Daily Republic Staff
Travis School District Superintendent Pam Conklin and Allyson Rude Azevedo, principal at the Travis Education Center/Community Day School, have been named Administrators of the Year.
The recognition comes from the Solano Charter of the Association of California School Administrators.
“I can’t say enough about the skills and abilities of both Allyson and Pam,” Travis school board President Ivery Hood said in a statement issued by the district administration. “Their educational vision for our students has had a tremendously positive impact on our school community. To have two administrators recognized is a testament to the quality of leadership here at Travis USD.”
Source: Educators’ group honors 2 Travis schools administrators
By Kimberly K. Fu
From candy to yearbooks to laptops and a vehicle, Will C. Wood High students and community members had all manner of wishes granted Friday during a raucous gathering at the school.
The annual Winter Wishes Kindness Rally 2020 kicked off with the Wildcats’ mascot busting awesome moves in the gym, to the hearty cheers of students.
It continued with giveaways like prom tickets, Vans shoes, personalized shirts and lunches from Chick-fil-A and In-N-Out Burger.
A minivan for a local family in need rounded out the gifts and concluded with everyone leaving with big smiles.
Source: Vacaville students, community grant dozens of wishes – The Reporter
By Thomas Gase
It was a day of celebrating firsts on Sonoma Boulevard in Vallejo as a grand opening was held for the First5 Center, a new community gathering area designed to spark children’s creativity and love for learning by encouraging them to play and grow.
The goal of the center (which is not a daycare) is to give parents and caregivers a safe and welcoming place where they can receive information and be connected to community resources. That includes basic support services, housing employment, food, health, dental and child support services — all provided at no cost.
The event drew approximately 400 people, many of them kids under the age of five running around in a jungle gym like area consisting of a fake mushroom and ladybug as well as a bridge. Others at the event included elected officials as well as featured speakers Erin Hannigan (Supervisor District 1), Lisette Estrella-Henderson (Solano County Superintendent of Schools), Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan and Stephanie Hochman (Program Director, Bay Area Community Resources).
Source: Vallejo adults, kids celebrate opening of First5 Center – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
The Leaven made sure that first responders were not left out of Valentine’s Day festivities.
Kids in the Fairfield-based agency’s after-school mentoring program made cards for law enforcement officers, firefighters, medics and Travis Air Force Base airmen and presented them to the first responders as part of the “Heroes of the Heart” program Thursday.
Throughout The Leaven’s many after-school centers, children colored, cut, pasted and wrote messages of support to first-responders and troops.
“They’re always doing something for us to keep us safe, so we’re giving back to them,” said Dina Johnson, site director at Signature at Fairfield Apartments.
Source: Leaven after-school program makes Valentine’s cards for troops, first responders – The Reporter
By Paul Warren and Julien Lafortune
Demographic projections from the California Department of Finance (DOF) suggest that California’s public K–12 school system is entering a long period of declining enrollment. By 2027–28, statewide enrollment is projected to fall nearly 7 percent (compared to 1.5% over the past decade). Enrollment is projected to shrink in about half of all counties, and declines are expected in more of the state’s larger counties.
Districts with declining enrollment face fiscal pressures, as state funding is tied to the number of students they serve. Declining enrollment also has important implications for the state budget. To help policymakers understand the effects of declines over the coming decade, we looked at recent district-level enrollment declines and assessed their consequences for districts as well as the state budget.
Source: Declining Enrollment in California Schools: Fiscal Challenges and Opportunities in the Coming Decade – Public Policy Institute of California
By Daily Republic Staff
Travis School District trustees this week recognized Vanden High science teacher Michael Howell and Vivian Pochop, a special education secretary, as the district’s best for 2019-20.
Each will represent the district in the countywide selection for the Teacher of the Year and the Classified School Employee of the Year.
Howell and Pochop were selected by a district committee, which included last year’s selections, from among the nominees from all the schools and the district office.
Source: Travis School Board recognizes top teacher, classified employee
By Anya Kamenetz
Ryan Pascal, a 17-year-old student at Palos Verdes High School near Los Angeles, says when her school holds active shooter drills, it’s “chaos.” The first time it happened, not long after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, rumors started flying over Snapchat and text that the school was really under attack.
“We had some students trying to stack up desks to blockade the door. We had some students sort of joking around because they weren’t sure how to handle this. There are other students who are very, very afraid.”
On top of all the other stresses of high school, she says, some students are now on constant alert: “When the little bell before an announcement happens, or when the fire alarm goes off, you can see this fear in students’ faces as they wonder, is this going to be a lockdown? Is this a drill? What’s happening? There’s so much anxiety just by a little trigger like that.”
Source: 2 Big Teachers Unions Call For Rethinking Student Involvement In Lockdown Drills – KQED
By John Glidden
The popular Mare Island Sports Complex, home to numerous sports leagues and athletic classes in Vallejo, is being shuttered due to safety concerns with the building’s age and design, the Greater Vallejo Recreation District announced Wednesday.
The recreation district received an official notice from the building’s landlord, The Nimitz Group, to vacate the building by May 1. The group had already received two engineering reports about the building’s condition, General Manager Gabriel Lanusse said in a press release.
Source: Mare Island Sports Complex to close due to safety concerns – Times-Herald
By Thomas Gase
After a successful high school career playing basketball at Petaluma High, Ann Talamantes-Ristow was at a crossroads when she got hurt in 1986 with a knee injury during her first season at Santa Rosa Junior College.
“Yeah I’ve been thinking about that period of my life, that fork in the road a little,” Talamantes-Ristow said last week. “When I hurt my knee I thought, that’s it for me and basketball.”
Thankfully for thousands of student athletes in the area, Talamantes-Ristow turned a bad break into a very good one and after contemplating briefly about becoming an athletic trainer, she decided to become a coach. It’s in that field she made a huge impact coaching basketball, badminton, volleyball and softball at Hogan and Jesse Bethel high schools as well as Solano Community College.
Source: Longtime coach Ann Talamantes-Ristow headed to Vallejo Sports Hall of Fame – Times-Herald
By Naaz Modan
President Donald Trump announced his proposed 2021 fiscal year budget Monday afternoon, once more suggesting cuts to the Department of Education and its notable K-12 programs.
Overall, the budget allocates $66.6 billion for the Department of Education, 7.8% or $5.6 billion less than the previous year.
Among proposed changes is a push to restructure the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into a block grant of $19.4 billion, which would consolidate major programs into its fold, including the Every Student Succeeds Act’s Title I and Title II, and amount to $4.8 billion less than what Congress approved for 2020.
Source: Trump’s proposed 2021 budget: ESSA overhaul, Title I cuts, CTE emphasis | Education Dive
Who doesn’t love a challenge? The Little Art Shop, one of Benicia’s premium art galleries on First Street, recently put forth a challenge to five Benicia High School students – create a work of art inspired by Scott Zoog’s sculpture, The Light Harp.
In 2017 a collaborative effort for Public Art began between Joe Lopez, owner of the Tannery Building and Rejina Christopher, owner of The Little Art Shop inside the Tannery Building. Together they commissioned Zoog to create a beautiful steel and glass piece which was installed in Dec. of 2018 behind the Tannery Building on the Carquinez Waterfront. Viewers have varied interpretations of the flowing lines of Zoog’s sculpture and declared it a pelican, fish, angel, butterfly or gymnast.
Source: Light Harp Challenge showcases Benicia High art students’ talent through fundraiser
By Daily Republic Staff
Area teachers will be trained on local and statewide water resource issues Feb. 22 at the Dunnell Nature Park and Education Center in Fairfield.
The training will conducted by the Project WET Foundation through the Solano Resource Conservation District.
“Teachers and educators are integral in helping children and their families learn about their water resources and responsible water use,” Marianne Butler, education director for the Solano Resource Conservation District, said in a statement released through her office. “We are proud to bring Project WET resources to Solano County’s schools through these hands-on, engaging educator trainings.”
Source: Solano teachers to be immersed in water resource training
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Dr. Mao Vang as the new Director for the Assessment Development and Administration Division (ADAD) at the California Department of Education (CDE). The division manages the development and administration for all statewide assessments.
“Mao brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and passion to the CDE’s leadership team,” said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond. “After more than 20 years of serving in various roles in education, she knows the important role of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and data in providing high-quality educational experiences to all our students.”
Dr. Vang spent the last two-and-a-half years as an Education Administrator at the CDE. Before that she served as Director of Assessment, Research and Evaluation in both San Ramon Valley Unified School District and Sacramento City Unified School District. She also spent time working for Educational Testing Services (ETS), where she directed and managed the development and administrative activities of the California High School Exit Exam program as the contractor working with the CDE.
Source: Mao Vang Named as New Assessment Director – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Sydney Johnson
At a time when California is placing a greater emphasis on science education, most students did not score at a proficient level on the state’s new science test, with scores especially low among several student groups.
The results of the test were released this week. They represent the first scores on the California Science Test, a new test developed by the California Department of Education, to measure progress on the Next Generation Science Standards adopted by California in 2013.
Source: Less than a third of California students met or exceeded standards on new science test – Times-Herald