This apportionment, in the amount of $100,000,000, is made from the General Fund as provided by Section 9 of Senate Bill 117 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2020) to local educational agencies (LEAs) in support of the SB 117 COVID-19 LEA Response Funds (SB 117 Funds). This apportionment reflects 100 percent of available funds.
Funding is allocated to each county office of education, school district, and charter school (both local and direct funded) on the basis of average daily attendance (ADA), excluding charter school nonclassroom based (NCB) ADA, funded as of the 2019–20 First Principal Apportionment. Each state special school is funded on an ADA equivalent factor equal to 97 percent of each state special school’s total enrollment count certified in the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) as of the 2019–20 Fall 1 Submission. Each LEA, excluding charter schools that generate 100 percent NCB ADA, received a minimum funding allocation of $250 and had to be operational as of March 4, 2020.
Source: Ltr1-19: SB 117 (CA Dept of Education)
By Tim Goree
The Shelter at Home order doesn’t stop FSUSD Human Resources staff from interviewing, hiring, and placing staff into positions for the 2020-21 school year.
Virtual interviews were held with qualified candidates this week. Four of these candidates will be offered contracts for open positions within the district. First round interviews for the Nelda Mundy Elementary School Principal position were also held using virtual meeting technology. The candidates for this position participated in remote, virtual interviews with panel members. Second round interviews will also be held virtually.
There are currently 33 new hires under contract who were recruited from job fairs, online application pool interviews, and principal recommendations. These individuals will be assigned to positions at school sites for the 2020/2021 school year by April 10, 2020.
Source: Press Release: FSUSD Hiring Continues Despite School Closures
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
It almost sounds like a sitcom. A construction worker becomes a teacher for three different grade levels.
It’s reality for Nate Reyes of Vacaville, thanks to Covid-19.
Each weekday, for a few hours, he works with his stepdaughter Riley Allesch, daughter Lilly Reyes and son Jaxson Reyes. Riley is a fifth-grader, Lilly a second-grader and Jaxson is in kindergarten.
Source: Dad takes on teacher role during school shutdown
By Richard Bammer
State and local stay-at-home orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted never-before-seen experiments with online education at schools across the nation, and the process began Monday in Fairfield-Suisun Unified.
In Solano County’s largest school district, with 22,000 across 30 sites, the educational services department has devised family-friendly ways and means to help students press on, in the meantime, with their education outside the traditional school site setting.
Virtual school, aka known as “distance learning,” has existed for decades, but it has not been a common practice in American public schools because of digital inequities among students and concerns about implications for teachers, among other reasons.
Source: Coronavirus: FSUSD leaders offer family-friendly tips, tools for ‘distance learning’ – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
Even in the darkest of times, a little relief can still be found through music.
The students of Will C. Wood High School’s Sylvan Singers choir were able to provide such relief through a recently posted a cappella video, showcasing their talents while also providing a spirit of optimism to others.
Like the rest of Will C. Wood, which has been closed since March 16 due to the global coronavirus pandemic and will remain closed through at least May 1, the choir program has had to adapt to a virtual learning format, which teacher Colby Hawkins has called “an exercise in innovation.”
Source: Coronavirus: School closure gives Will C. Wood choir students new avenue to keep singing – The Reporter
By Al Tadayon
As thousands of parents struggle to put food on the table during the coronavirus pandemic, California food banks are partnering with schools to feed children, as well as their families.
With schools shut down across the state, districts are serving “grab and go” meals to students in an effort to stop the coronavirus spread. Many have also allowed food banks to distribute boxes of groceries at the school sites. The largest effort is underway at the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has partnered with star chef Jose Andres and other organizations to provide meals for both students and their parents.
“We know entire families are going hungry, so when families are going to the school district, there may be others in the household who need food as well,” said Andrew Cheyne, director of government affairs for the California Association of Food Banks. “Schools in this environment have become a bright spot — they are known, trusted, highly accessible locations that families are used to visiting.”
Source: California food banks partner with schools to serve families of students during pandemic – Times-Herald
By Richard Bammer
California public schools chief Tony Thurmond on Friday said the state Department of Education received a preliminary federal OK to waive assessment and accountability requirements for the 2019–2020 school year.
His department and the State Board of Education formally requested approval for the waivers from the U.S. Department of Education in a letter sent Thursday. Formal approval is expected in the coming weeks, Thurmond noted in a press release.
Source: Coronavirus: CDE gets prelim fed OK to waive testing, school accountability – The Reporter
By Lango Deen
In the wake of coronavirus quarantines and stay-at-home orders, many schools and colleges have canceled summer academies. Career-exploration camps help young people to harness the power of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and gain valuable skills as they learn about some of the most in-demand careers.
For example, the Central Virginia Community Community College (CVCC) Summer Academy for middle and high school students included mechatronics and the art of engineering. Scheduled to take place in June, registrants for the workforce development programs are now being contacted by phone concerning refunds, according to a CVCC announcement.
The New Jersy Institute of Technology’s Center for Pre-College Programs also canceled STEM and computer science course sessions held every Saturday through May. The ACT/SAT Preparation Program was postponed and a Pi Day event for parents and students was also canceled.
Source: Schools Are Closed. But STEM Learning Doesn’t Stop – US Black Engineer
All Solano County schools will be closed until at least May 1, Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Adam Clark announced in a message to parents Thursday.
Clark said the decision was made as a “coordinated response that represents a continued effort to reduce the number of affected individuals with COVID-19 and to keep our communities as safe as possible pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order N-33-20, the current Solano County Order to Shelter At Home, and in consultation with Solano County Public Health.”
“The safety and wellness of students, school personnel, and the community are our highest priority,” Clark added.
Source: Solano County schools to remain closed through May 1 amid COVID-19 outbreak – Times-Herald
By Tim Goree
Distance Learning Resources Available on the FSUSD Website.
School buildings are closed, but learning continues in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District (FSUSD). The Educational Services Department has worked diligently to provide family friendly tools to assist the 22,000 students being educated outside the traditional school site setting.
Source: Press Release: FSUSD Provides Family Friendly Tools For Distance Learning
By Nick Sestanovich
Solano County Office of Education has advised public school districts and charter schools to continue distance learning through at least May 1.
The guidance was issued after consulting with Solano County Public Health and is in accordance with both the county’s stay-at-home order and the similar executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, SCOE officials announced in a news release Thursday.
Previously, the superintendents of Solano County’s school districts had announced closures with tentative dates for reopening beginning in late March and then rescheduled to mid-April. However, since Newsom has called for individuals to stay home and prohibit mass gatherings of more than 10 people indefinitely, SCOE — as well as school district superintendents and charter school leaders — settled on May 1 as a tentative return date but would work with state and local health officials to determine if the date will be extended further.
Source: Coronavirus: Solano County school closures extended through May 1 – The Reporter
By Bill Hicks
The Solano County Office of Education advised all school districts throughout the county Thursday to extend school closures and subsequent distance learning through May 1.
Action by the county office follows similar action taken Wednesday by the Fairfield-Suisun School District.
Solano County school districts and charter schools had previously announced tentative dates that would extend school closures until mid-April. However, Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for individuals to stay at home statewide and prohibited mass gatherings of more than 10 people – indefinitely.
Source: Solano schools push back student return date to early May
By Andrew Ujifusa
Senators have passed a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that includes $13.5 billion in dedicated funding to shore up K-12 education budgets, as well as additional aid for student nutrition and child-care services. It also gives U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos new waiver power to grant states and schools flexibility under the main federal K-12 law.
The $13.5 billion earmarked for K-12 schools is included in the bill’s Education Stabilization Fund, which also contains $14.25 billion for higher education, and $3 billion for governors to use at their discretion to assist K-12 and higher education as they deal with the fallout from the virus. The legislation also states that any state or school district getting money from the stabilization fund “shall to the greatest extent practicable, continue to pay its employees and contractors during the period of any disruptions or closures related to coronavirus.”
Source: Senate Passes Coronavirus Bill With $13.5 Billion for Schools, DeVos Waiver Power – Politics K-12 – Education Week
Mary Vanasit, a third grade teacher in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, is holding class for the first time since her school closed four days ago. On the computer screen in front of her, 21 of her 27 students form a squirming grid, each of them in their own little video chat universe.
Mason is rolling around in bed, Chris and Colton keep walking around, it’s impossible to understand Christian because he sounds like a robot, Kinley appears to be mildly tormenting her cat, and absolutely nobody is adhering to the hands-off-the-face mandate.
From her own box in the upper left corner of the screen, Vanasit does her best to keep the class on task. “Can you hit your speaker button so we don’t hear your background noise?” she asks one student. “Can you minimize your Zoom tab and then open Google Chrome?” she asks another. “If you look in the chat, it has the instructions.”
Source: Educating in an Outbreak: California Teachers Adapt to the New Reality of ‘Distance Learning’ | KQED News
Senior Tristan Keene and sophomore Juhi Yadav became the first Benicia High students ever to qualify for the state finals in debate on Saturday, March 7, beating 26 other teams of debaters from some of the Bay Area’s best schools. But what really surprised the people who know them wasn’t that Tristan and Juhi did so well at their qualifying tournament in Union City.
It was that they showed up at all.
Five days earlier, Tristan was ready to call it off. Between a nearly full-time job washing dishes and her demanding schedule of school work, she felt overwhelmed.
Source: Benicia High debate team first ever to qualify for state tournament; tourney canceled due to COVID-19
By Emma Goularte,
COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has been a non-stop talked about topic in the news and social media. This new virus attacks the respiratory system and shows itself by illuminating flu-like symptoms such as a fever, dry cough, sore throat, and in extreme cases difficulty breathing. It can be spread through human contact by a person infected with the virus by coughing, sneezing, or saliva.
This infectious virus can be deadly when it is contracted by older generations or people who have preexisting conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. This makes people more susceptible to the virus and can make symptoms more severe.
Source: Benicia students; faculty impacted by school closures due to COVID-19
By John Glidden
Since the 2015-16 school year, the Vallejo City Unified School District has lost more than $36 million due to students transferring out of the district, according to a March 16 report from the Solano County civil grand jury.
The grand jury is recommending the district begin to limit student transfers, establish a community task force to evaluate the situation, have VCUSD Superintendent Adam Clark conduct a curriculum audit to determine how to improve student’s academic performance, and use transfer data in the budgeting process for staffing and school facilities.
The grand jury said that 3,237 students transferred out of the district, with just 84 transferring in during the same time period, costing the district $36 million.
Source: Vallejo school district has lost millions because of transfers – Times-Herald
By Daily Republic Staff
Vallejo resident Peggy Cohen-Thompson was chosen as the 2020 Woman of the Year by Solano County’s state senator.
Cohen-Thompson was recognized for her service as president of the Solano County Board of Education, as well as being a longtime advocate of African-American businesses and a civic leader in Vallejo, according to a press release from Sen. Bill Dodd’s office.
She has been a schools trustee since 2014.
Source: Senator taps Vallejo civic leader as Woman of the Year
By Andrew Ujifusa
Stimulus legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to cope with impact of the coronavirus pandemic would create a $50 billion fund to stabilize states’ education budgets, including a minimum of roughly $15 billion specifically for K-12 school districts.
In addition, the House’s Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act would loosen rules under the E-Rate program in order to help schools and other organizations provide internet-connected devices and mobile broadband internet access to students. And it would provide $200 million to Project SERV grants, which assist schools that are affected by natural disasters and community violence, as well as additional money for Head Start.
Source: House Coronavirus Bill Would Direct Billions to Schools, Fund Remote Learning – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Richard Freedman
There are 32 fourth-graders in Room 27 at Steffan Manor Elementary who can’t wait to get back to the classroom.
OK, maybe not all 32. But, from the looks of it, most. Take a bow, Devynne Johnson, the school — and the Vallejo City Unified School District’s — Teacher of the Year.
Simply put, “she’s like the Pied Piper,” praised Steffan Manor Principal Dr. Markell McCain, calling the honor “well-deserved.”
“It’s just the special quality she has; her connection with kids,” McCain said. “You can tell the kids love her. You can see it when you walk into the classroom. It’s just something special.”
Source: Teacher of Year from Vallejo can’t wait to get back into the classroom – Times-Herald