By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano Resource Conservation District on May 6 will launch its “Watershed Wednesdays” online education program and will provide free material to teachers and caregivers for use in their online school lessons.
The material features district educators exploring “nature as they shelter at home, virtual classroom visits, worksheets and links to other meaningful activities,” the district announced in a statement.
“We’re very excited that we can continue supporting Solano County’s students and families during this difficult time. Fortunately, nature is around us no matter where we are, so we are highlighting that in our distance learning program and encouraging students to still be nature scientists at home,” Allison Martin, Solano Resource Conservation District Education Program manager, said in the statement. “We also hope that schools will use some of our printable resources to help those who may not have regular access to a computer.”
Source: Solano conservation district offers online education material
By Richard Bammer
Eastern Solano County school districts have set dates or plans, some of the latter still pending, for class of 2020 graduations, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing changes to the traditional, year-end ceremonies.
At Dixon High, Principal Stephanie Marquez said Wednesday that seniors will graduate on the previously set date of June 6 with a car parade through town that will lead to the campus, 555 College Way, where 242 students will receive their diplomas.
Students can pick up their caps and gowns (and a little surprise) from 3 to 5 p.m. May 19, she noted in a social media post in English and Spanish.
Source: Coronavirus: Area school districts set dates, plans, some pending, for 2020 graduations – The Reporter
By Andrew Ujifusa
After years of frustration in her attempts to expand education choice, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is picking up steam.
Fresh evidence that DeVos is continuing her push to prioritize choice with federal funds can be found in the April 24 edition of the Federal Register. That’s where the U.S. Department of Education announced a new proposed grant priority for its Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. The priority would affect State Personnel Development Grants that help train those working in special education.
Source: Special Education Teachers a New Focus for Betsy DeVos Voucher Push – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Shawna De La Rosa
School reopening plans nationwide continue to change and evolve as positive COVID-19 cases grow. Holcomb said schools must remain flexible to react quickly to fall closures due to new outbreaks.
Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday students may return to the classroom as early as July. California closed schools March 19, a few days later than some other states. Newsom expects modifications to be in place to help safeguard students and staff and allow for social distancing. He suggested schools could stagger schedules.
Source: States weigh options for start of new school year | Education Dive
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
The horns kept honking Tuesday afternoon.They were followed by a bevy of police sirens and flashing lights. A fire engine was also in the parade honoring Fairfield Police Officer Joe Holecek, who retires Thursday after serving with the Fairfield Police Department for 25 years.
Holecek for the past nine years was a school resource officer at Rodriguez High School, the site of the social distancing celebration, complete with congratulatory signs, some cards and gifts.
Source: School resource officer ends career with sirens, signs, swarm of well-wishers
By Nick Sestanovich
Despite being closed off for the remainder of the year, the Rodriguez High School front parking lot opened up again Tuesday so parents, students, Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District staff and police officers could bid farewell to a retiring longtime school resource officer.
Officer Joe Holecek’s career with the Fairfield Police Department and at Rodriguez High comes to a close Thursday, so a reverse car parade was held to give one final sendoff.
“It’s been a blessing to have him,” Rodriguez Principal Clarence Isadore said.
Source: Rodriguez High, Fairfield PD communities bid farewell to officer after 25 years – The Reporter
By Kimberly K. Fu
For the second time in the past month Solano Public Health officials have extended the county’s shelter-at-home order — this time through May 17.
The impetus, apparently, is the significant number of active COVID-19 cases and related deaths in and around Solano County.
“The significant number of confirmed actives cases currently in Solano County, and confirmed cases and deaths in surrounding counties including those in the greater Bay Area, the Sacramento County region, and in San Joaquin County are evidence that this public health emergency has not substantially improved since the issuance of the March 30, 2020 Solano County Public Health Order,” reads the current directive. “These data are evidence that the suggested 14-day sustained reduction in new active cases and a sustained reduction in hospitalizations has not yet been achieved locally.”
Source: Coronavirus: Solano extends shelter-at-home order – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
Live from Solano County, it’s Friday Night Live!
Yes, even as school campuses remain closed because of the coronavirus, the Solano County Office of Education is raising awareness of the work students are doing to promote positive changes through the Friday Night Live (FNL) program.
After all, April is Friday Night Live Month.
FNL was established in 1984 to address the issue of underage driving under the influence by promoting youth lifestyles free of alcohol and other drugs. Today, the program is available in 47 counties throughout California and has chapters in nearly 600 schools, community centers, juvenile halls and housing projects.
Source: SCOE celebrates Friday Night Live Month – The Reporter
By Andrew Ujifusa
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has officially announced that $13.5 billion in emergency coronavirus funding for K-12 schools is now available.
The billions in additional aid was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law by President Donald Trump last month. The money will initially go to states, but at least 90 percent ultimately must be passed along to school districts via the Title I formula designed to help schools with large shares of students from low-income households.
Schools can use this pot of CARES Act money for a variety of purposes to help them deal with the fallout of the virus, which has forced dozens of states to shut down in-person classes for the rest of the school year. For example, educators can use it to provide access to the internet for students struggling to learn remotely, mental health supports, and support for special populations of students such as those who are homeless.
Source: Betsy DeVos Releases Billions More in Coronavirus Education Aid – Politics K-12 – Education Week
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond commended yesterday’s executive order by Governor Gavin Newsom that allows schools to focus on the impacts of campus closures as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and their mitigation plans for when students return this fall. The executive order does this by extending the deadline for school districts and charter schools to submit upcoming Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP) which are long-range planning documents tied to budget projections.
“School districts statewide have been working hard to put distance learning platforms into place and keep their students fed. The LCAP process deadlines should not be placing additional burdens on schools, which as a result of our current climate of social distancing, cannot meaningfully engage with their community stakeholders,” Thurmond said. “The Governor’s action frees up staff time and resources for districts to focus solely on the immediate learning needs and health of our students.”
Source: SPI Commends Governor’s LCAP Executive Order – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Daily Republic Staff
Margie Olson has been selected to serve as the chairwoman of the Solano County Democratic Central Committee.
“I joined the Northern Solano County Democratic Club and became active with the Democrats after I retired,” said Olson, who was a special education teacher for the county Office of Education. She lives in Vacaville.
Olson was originally appointed to the Central Committee, then elected in March to a four-year term to represent the 4th District.
Source: Former teacher takes reins of Dem Central Committee executive panel
By Bill Hicks
The Fairfield-Suisun School District’s trustees honored one of the district’s employees Thursday for being “selfless” and “heroic,” according to a proclamation presented before the board’s meeting.
The proclamation recognizes Tim Stacey, a vehicle maintenance manager with the district, who recently helped put out a vehicle fire.
As stated in the proclamation, Stacey saw a vehicle in flames, instructed a co-worker to call 911 then grabbed an extinguisher and hopped a fence, racing over to douse the flames.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun schools trustees honor ‘heroic’ employee
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that 25 schools and eight districts earned 2020 California Green Ribbon Schools awards. Among these state honorees are five “Green Achievers” nominated by the State Superintendent to receive U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition.
The U.S. Department of Education today confirmed all five Green Achievers as ED-GRS honorees, recognized for conserving resources while promoting health and environmental literacy. California’s honorees are among 39 schools, 11 districts, and five postsecondary institutions being honored nationally.
“Congratulations to this year’s honorees,” said Thurmond. “California Green Ribbon Schools expertly use local approaches to tackle global issues such as sustainability and environmental literacy. Students are not only learning and practicing environmental stewardship, but also sharing those sustainable practices with their families and in their communities.”
Source: 2020 CA Green Ribbon Schools Award Honorees – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Times Herald
For the fifth year in a row, Mare Island Technology (MIT) Academy in Vallejo has been named by U.S. News and World Report as “One of America’s Best High Schools,” according to a press release from the charter school.
The award is “based on the … principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators,” the school shared.
“This award specifically names MIT Academy High School, but as is often pointed out, you can’t have a great high school without a great middle school to support it. In every way, this award recognizes both the middle and high school programs and the articulated effort both schools make to support our students,” wrote Matt Smith, former superintendent/CEO. “And though we are justifiably proud of each of the awards we’ve won, this year’s is especially appropriate in light of the severe challenges posed by the national school shutdowns and the pivot to distance learning.
Source: MIT Academy named one of America’s best high schools – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
The Governing Board of the Dixon Unified School District voted 3-1 at Tuesday’s meeting to appoint longtime educator Dr. Lloyd McCabe to fill a vacancy that was created following last month’s resignation of Trustee John Gabby.
McCabe — a part-time lecturer at the University of California, Davis with an extensive background in education and local programs — was one of two individuals to apply for the seat, the other being former board trustee and Ohlone College professor Andy Bloom.
Superintendent Brian Dolan said both applicants were very qualified and used a coin flip to determine who would go first in the interview process. The coin landed in McCabe’s favor, and President Luke Foster asked questions of both of the applicants that were drafted by Dolan as well as trustees Jewel Fink and Caitlin O’Halloran. Dolan said the candidates received the questions in advance earlier that day so they could be prepared to respond.
Source: Lloyd McCabe appointed to Dixon school board – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
The long wait to bring a new middle school onto the old Dixon High School campus will have to wait a little longer.
Dixon Unified School District officials announced Wednesday that John Knight Middle School has pushed back its planned opening from August to January due to a delay in the final stages of renovation due to the coronavirus.
“We believe it’s vital to the health and safety of our students, teachers, staff, and parents to have a fully-operational and completed renovation before we occupy the site,” DUSD Superintendent Brian Dolan said in a press statement. “Students and teachers will benefit from and be able to use all the new classrooms, library, gymnasiums, cafeteria, and all other spaces when they come to the new school. We did not want to have the students and teachers come to an incomplete school with construction activities still occurring.”
Source: Coronavirus: John Knight Middle School opening delayed to January – The Reporter
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today the release of 2019–2020 enrollment data for California’s kindergarten through grade twelve public schools. The data breaks down enrollment by ethnicity and grade, along with English Language Acquisition Status, and can be sorted by county, district, or school.
“In these unprecedented times, these data can provide a clear look at all California students,” Thurmond said. “It’s especially helpful in showing where students are struggling and additional resources are needed as we work to close the digital divide and provide assistance for schools having to utilize distance-learning models.”
Source: SSPI Thurmond Announces 2019-20 Enrollment Data – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Thomas Gase
Benicia High School’s staff has not seen its school’s seniors in person for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean teachers and administrators have forgotten about them.
When a project was brought up to honor the students, it didn’t take long for all of them to “sign” off on it.
A drive-through event was held for Panther seniors as they picked up not only their caps and gowns but also a free sign they could put in their front yard acknowledging that they belong to the Class of 2020. A free lunch was also given as teachers, faculty and even some other students held up their own signs and offered congratulations.
Source: Coronavirus: Sign of the times at Benicia High – Times-Herald
By Tim Goree
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District and Solano Library Partnership Offers Digital Access for All Students
Fairfield, CA – April 21, 2020: The Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District and Solano County Library partnered to offer the Student Access Card in the fall of 2019, which acts as a student identification and a public library card in one. The Student Access Card streamlines student access to information and materials by integrating FSUSD Student ID numbers and public library accounts.
Source: Press Release: FSUSD and Solano Library Partnership Offers Digital Access for All Students
By Tim Goree
Suisun Elementary School students are looking forward to their next recess even more than usual! REM Construction began mobilizing at Suisun Elementary on Monday, April 13th to start construction of two new playground structures. Manufactured by Gametime, the new structures will be placed on the lower grade and the upper grade playgrounds.
The equipment is designed to promote physical activity and fitness through active play, which includes six key elements: spinning, sliding, swinging, climbing, brachiating, and balancing. The lower grade structure will include multiple slides, a climbing wall, and gizmo panels; the upper grade structure will include multiple slides, a climbing wall, and swings. Playground construction, which is part of a larger project at Suisun Elementary School, was originally scheduled to start June 15th and end in October. Due to school building closures the project has started early and is anticipated to finish in August.
Source: Press Release: Suisun Elementary to Receive Two New Playground Structures