By Andrew Ujifusa
Schools may be out for the summer, but the heat is on for them to reopen in less than two months.
That was one big takeaway from a congressional hearing Tuesday, in which several senators as well as federal health officials agreed that getting children back into classrooms next fall is vital for students, their parents, and for the nation at large.
The Senate education committee hearing took place as public pressure mounts on schools to resume some form of normal operations in the upcoming academic year, due in part to concerns about a weakened economy and the long-term welfare of children and families.
Source: CDC Will Provide Virus-Testing Guidance for Schools as Pressure to Reopen Grows – Politics K-12 – Education Week
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) will lead a series of virtual ethnic studies webinars and lessons in the coming weeks. As the CDE prepares to submit a revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for public review, these webinars will help students, educators, and families familiarize themselves with the core areas of ethnic studies, including how different groups have struggled and worked together, as well as key concepts such as equality, justice, race, ethnicity, and indigeneity.
“Our students have spoken, and they want to have conversations and learn about our nation’s complex history in a way that is more representative of the world they’ve experienced and lived—a way that represents them and their families,” said Thurmond. “During this historic moment, we as a nation are re-examining the problematic fabrics of our society and history; ethnic studies helps emphasize cross-relational and intersectional study of different groups and helps tell of the struggles, histories, and contributions of America’s ethnic groups that all students need to learn.”
Source: SSPI Announces Ethnic Studies Webinar Series – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that 14 school attendance review boards (SARBs) have been designated as model programs by the State SARB for exemplary practices that have contributed to reducing chronic absenteeism rates and improving student attendance.
The announcement of the model SARBs follows the statewide school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The SARBs were recognized for successfulmulti-tiered attendance strategies used during the school year, which have been adapted and implemented during distance learning.
“Students who were chronically absent before schools closed due to the global health crisis are particularly at-risk for poor participation in distance learning,” said Thurmond. “School communities are navigating through unprecedented challenges; however, it is imperative that all students—especially those who have attendance issues—stay connected to ensure that they don’t fall behind. The attendance systems these model districts have put in place are examples that other districts throughout the state can review and utilize now and when schools reopen.”
Source: 2020 Model SARB Winners Announced – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond issued the following statement today in response to the Legislature’s approval of the 2020-21 state budget for K-12 public education:
“I want to commend our leaders in the Assembly and Senate for working with the Governor to preserve funding for education and to avoid the permanent cuts and layoffs that would have been devastating for California’s public schools and students just when they need us the most. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our economy, and we are grateful that this budget recognizes that investments in public education will be a critical driver to our state’s rebound.
Source: SPI Issues Statement in Response to Ed Budget – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
We are living in unprecedented times in so many ways, and while the District has had a large and ongoing response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have not addressed the current conditions within the country related to race, equity, and our role related to these critical issues outside of comments at recent Governing Board Meetings.The mission statement of the District reads, in part, that we will “close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and career readiness. . . ” As evidenced in such overt and disturbing ways recently, some of our students come to us with experiences of being subject to racism, discrimination, harassment, and other injustices in both explicit and implicit ways. No child should live in these conditions. They negatively impact a child’s ability to learn and develop to their fullest potential.
Source: Dixon Unified School District Equity Statement | Dixon, CA Patch
By Paul Farmer
Rodriguez High may be the newest high school in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District as it enters its 20th school year this fall, but there’s been enough time for the Mustangs – their athletes, coaches and fans – to come up with some amazing stories.
And documentaries. Having done stories on what would make interesting documentaries at Armijo and Fairfield high schools the past two weeks, it’s now Rodriguez’s turn.
Source: Rodriguez documentaries: Mustangs stampeded to some great stories
By Zaidee Stavely
Walk into a California preschool during the coronavirus pandemic, and you might see children playing alone inside their own hula hoop.
Gone are family-style meals and snacks where children serve themselves. And no more sharing toys.
Some of the state’s new guidelines for child care facilities, like keeping children six feet apart, seem at odds with the main goal of early education, which is focused on helping children feel safe and loved, and learn to play and talk with both other children and adults.
Source: There’s a new lesson in California preschools — no sharing – Times-Herald
BY Nick Sestanovich
The Governing Board of the Vacaville Unified School District will consider adopting with a projected $116 million in General Fund revenues for the 2020-21 academic year at its Thursday meeting.
The revenue assumptions used for the budget are based on projections from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May revisions to the state budget. The district’s budget is also linked to the approval process of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), both of which require a public hearing and adoption. The budget approval process will have both at Thursday’s school board meeting, while an LCAP hearing will be held at a later date.
For the 2020-21 school year, VUSD is anticipating $5 million in local funding, $9 million in state funding, $4.6 million in federal funding and $97.9 million in funding from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a funding system which establishes grants in place of funding streams. Combined, the funding systems are projected to provide more than $116 million for the next school year.
Source: Vacaville school board to consider budgets for district, Kimme – The Reporter
By Maggie Angst and John Woolfolk
As California struggles to manage the impact of the growing coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced a state budget deal that avoids deep education cuts to close a cavernous deficit created by the crisis.
Newsom offered few details in the deal hashed out with legislative leaders late Sunday, but he stressed that the most feared cuts to public schools that he’d called for to help close a $54.3 billion shortfall will be averted.
“We have provisions against teacher layoffs,” Newsom said Monday. “That is good news, that was foundational, something we all cared deeply about. There was concern and anxiety about layoffs and pink slips and that was substantially addressed.”
Source: Gov. Newsom: California budget deal avoids teacher layoffs – The Reporter
BY Claudia Boyd-Barrett
At the beginning of March, Monse Gonzalez had her entire year planned. She would graduate from community college, save part of her paychecks as a childcare worker, and start school at UC Santa Barbara.
Then came the pandemic.
Suddenly, everything Gonzalez, 18, had worked for was in jeopardy: her job, her housing, her associate’s degree. While many young adults have families to lean on during these uncertain times, as a young adult in California’s foster care system, Gonzalez’s main support is herself.
“I want to make sure that I’ll be able to have a roof over my head,” said Gonzalez, who has bounced between multiple foster families and housing arrangements since age 15 when her mother died. “I want to know what’s going to happen in the next year.”
Source: California considers extending foster care for young adults until pandemic emergency ends – The Reporter
By Peter Fournier
That was the theme of Thursday morning’s drive-thru diploma ceremony for graduates of Sem Yeto High School, located at the Fairfield High School campus.
An expected 61 graduates rolled through the parking lot to pick up their diplomas and take the next step in their lives after moving on from the continuation high school.
Principal James Hightower commended the staff for putting together the drive-thru ceremony, which consisted of a location for students to get their actual diploma, and then a stop for graduates to get a picture in their caps and gowns.
Source: Persistence pays off at diploma event for Sem Yeto grads
By Susan Hansen
Sem Yeto Satellite graduates only needed to wait a little while for their senior year to be completed Thursday.
About 130 students came to the Armijo High School campus and waited in cars with parents and siblings to receive the final paper – the diploma for all of their hard work.
Mason Ferrer, 18, felt great about graduation day.
“I’m not sure about next year,” he said. “But I’m working at Walmart at the moment.”
Source: Sem Yeto Satellite graduation ushers seniors into new lives
By Todd R. Hansen
Lucas was about 400 pounds when Jessie Means purchased the Angus cross-breed from a Solano County rancher in August.
The steer weighed in Thursday at 1,360 pounds as Means readied to show the animal at the junior livestock judging on the opening day of the 2020 Solano County Fair – a very different fair.
“This is pretty exciting for the kids,” announced judge Amanda Schnorr of Chowchilla, minutes after naming Means the Novice 4-H Showmanship winner.
Source: Nearly 80 animals strut their stuff at live junior livestock show at Solano County Fair
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Gone were “Pomp and Circumstance” and a walk across a field to metal folding chairs.
In their place was a 25-plus vehicle parade, featuring the Solano County Sheriff’s Office Bearcat, a 1929 Model A Ford and a chance to pose for pictures with fellow graduates in a relaxed atmosphere.
The Rodriguez High School Class of 2020 was sent off in style, gathering Thursday at the Smith Ranch before a drive down Ramsay Road to Bridgeport Lane and Lopes Lane, to Red Top Road and the school.
Source: Rodriguez graduates get Bearcat escort to pick up diplomas
By Bill Hicks
If big things come in small packages, then the graduation ceremony for Early College High School was a big thing.
The ceremony Thursday morning at Solano Community College was one of the more intimate of the recent string of drive-thru graduation events, with 66 students earning their high school diplomas.
Students in the program completed their high school requirements, along with some college courses, with some of the seniors even earning associate degrees in the process.
Source: Small ceremony packs big punch for ECHS graduates
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Daishawn Bates just wrapped up his educational journey.
Yet, the 22-year-old is anxious to get back to high school – Armijo High School. He graduated from there in 2016.
Just before the novel coronavirus pandemic he was helping a speech pathologist working with the students there who use augmentative and alternative communication devices.
Bates is nonverbal. He has cerebral palsy. And, a very happy outlook and a smile that goes from ear-to-ear.
Source: Daishawn Bates loves to help others learn adaptive communication devices
By Jesse Gary
Educators, staff, students, and parents are turning their collective attention to the month of August, now that the school year turned upside down by COVID-19 is over. Many wonder what shape public learning will take.
Palo Alto Unified School District officials are exploring a return to campus for some students in August. Superintendent Don Austin is meeting with school board members Tuesday night to fine tune possibilities.
Source: School districts consider reopening classrooms in coming school year | KTVU FOX 2
By Todd R. Hansen
Perhaps when reunion name tags are needed for the members of the Fairfield High School Class of 2020 to recognize each other – or when the coughs, sneezes and high temperatures of their own children will mean more than this Covid-19 threat ever did – they will realize that this year that was and was not is far more unique than most senior years have ever been.
But let’s also hope that they were paying attention in history class – virtual though it may have been – when they learned there have been Fairfield High seniors throughout the decades who knew that as soon as they got their diplomas they would be drafted into fighting wars – and some never came back for reunions.
Source: Diploma ceremony puts exclamation to Fairfield High seniors’ unique year
By Bill Hicks
The novel coronavirus outbreak made the 2019-20 school year one of the most unusual on record.
Students completed the final three months of their schooling at home while working online. There were, of course, certain things that were sacrificed along the way, like spring sports seasons, prom and other late-year school activities.
Few student groups suffered the consequences of those sacrifices quite like seniors, who gave up so many of their final experiences in school due to the outbreak.
Source: Armijo’s Class of 2020 cruises away at drive-thru graduation
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
The Public Safety Academy for the fourth consecutive year has graduated 100 percent of its senior class.
The Class of 2020 was composed of 51 members. Almost half of them have been at the school since fifth grade, said Laurie Halcomb, the school’s principal.
The graduates remained resilient through their final year and never wavered in their support of each other, she said.
Source: Public Safety Academy sends all of its seniors into brave new world