By Nick Sestanovich
To make up for lost maintenance work at Vacaville Unified School District schools due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, crews performed work on the baseball fields at Hemlock Elementary School and Willis Jepson Middle School this past week.
The work began Tuesday and is scheduled to be completed Friday.
Images of the fields after a tractor had run through them had become widely circulated throughout social media beginning Tuesday with parents expressing outrage that their kids would not have a place to keep their minds at ease and stay active during the shutdown. One common explanation given was that the district was trying to keep kids off the fields while school and sports are not in session
Source: VUSD: Activity on baseball fields was due to maintenance – The Reporter
By Ryan Hill
Vacaville parents and coaches are furious after they say softball fields were destroyed by the Vacaville Unified School District.
“The fields are getting destroyed out here in Vacaville,” Luis Perez, a parent and coach, said.
“We’ve seen that on Tuesday at one of our sessions for workouts and training we had; there was a tractor out on the field coming out and blatantly stated that they were going to destroy the field,” Angelia Sandoval, a parent upset over fields, said.
Source: Vacaville Parents, Coaches Upset After They Say Softball Fields Were Destroyed – CBS Sacramento
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Wednesday outlined ways in which the California Department of Education (CDE) is helping schools implement and strengthen distance learning in the weeks leading up to the new school year, including guidance updates and virtual professional development, and ongoing efforts to connect school districts to resources that can close the digital divide.
“With school starting in a matter of weeks for many districts—and with as many as 97 percent of students expected to begin in distance learning—CDE is leaning into this moment to help make sure our educators are ready,” said Thurmond. “Whether we are helping schools close the digital divide, or providing guidance and webinars to understand new requirements, I am proud of the work our team is leading to help educators have the resources and responsiveness they need to make critical decisions in real time.”
Source: SSPI Outlines Support for Distance Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Ashley A. Smith
Colleges, students and faculty members may be unsure of what lies ahead as they brace for another mostly virtual academic term amid a pandemic, but the crisis could force California’s higher education systems to improve.
The state’s colleges and universities could use the current crisis to build better partnerships across the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges and private institutions to increase access and improve graduation rates. That was the message from Lande Ajose, a senior policy advisor for higher education to Gov. Gavin Newsom, and ECMC Foundation President Peter Taylor during a webinar Wednesday hosted by California Competes, a nonprofit focused on improving graduation outcomes. The organization released a new data dashboard that found uneven educational opportunities across the state. For example, Bay Area residents are most likely to have a bachelor’s degree, at 52%, compared to 17% of residents in the San Joaquin Valley.
Source: California’s higher education leaders see an opportunity in crisis – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
Going back to school in Dixon will look very different this year, but one thing that will not change is the need to buy school supplies.
One local group has come up with a way to potentially get the necessary supplies for free in a manner that will also allow youngsters to have fun while doing so.
The Dixon Booze Fairies will be hosting a scavenger hunt in August, open to elementary and middle schoolers. The local group makes unprompted deliveries of snacks, sanitizer and — as the group’s name would imply — bottles of alcohol to residents’ doorsteps, and encourage the recipients to pay it forward.
Source: Dixon group hosting back-to-school scavenger hunt – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
Property owners in Vacaville Unified School District will see a reduced property tax rate on future bills, district officials announced in a new release.
This past month, VUSD refinanced $39.56 million in general obligation bonds, a move officials said would save district property owners more than $4.19 million in property taxes.
“With interest rates near historic lows, we wanted to take this opportunity to save our community money, particularly in light of the downturn in the economy,” Superintendent Jane Shamieh said in a statement.
Source: VUSD: Bond refinance will be boon to taxpayers – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
Fairfield-Suisun Unified, teaming up with the Solano County Public Health Department, is hosting two free Tdap immunization clinics next week for incoming seventh-graders.
State law requires incoming seventh-graders to have two doses of varicella and a tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) booster given after age 7 and prior to entering seventh grade.
In a press release, Tim Goree, director of administrative services and community engagement for the sprawling Solano County school district, said the free clinics are an opportunity for children to receive these immunizations at no cost, regardless of medical insurance coverage.
Source: FSUSD to host pair of free Tdap immunization clinics next week – The Reporter
By Shawna De La Rosa
Prior to Blew’s remarks, some states had already started seeking assessment waivers for the upcoming school year. On June 18, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced they would seek a standardized testing waiver, saying high-stakes testing would be “counterproductive.” South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Michigan are among states that made similar pushes.
Recent recommendations by the NWEA, a nonprofit assessment provider, include suggestions to use two years of assessment data to measure student growth rather than a single year and to rethink how assessments are used and implemented overall. The association also suggested the U.S. Department of Education should change tests to reflect the new role of distance and hybrid learning, and provide targeted flexibilities in accountability for states rather than blanket testing waivers.
Source: Ed Dept official: Don’t expect testing waivers this year | Education Dive
By Carolyn Jones
With students facing ever-growing levels of depression and anxiety as the pandemic wears on, nearly everyone agrees that school districts need to expand their mental health services.
But budget uncertainties have stymied school districts’ efforts to hire more counselors and psychologists, leaving mental health advocates worried that thousands of students in California won’t receive the help they need.
“Basically, nearly every student in California has been traumatized,” said Melanee Cottrill, executive director of the California Association of School Psychologists. “We expect to see a huge demand when school reopens, and we are very concerned about meeting the needs of students.”
Source: Schools want to hire more counselors amid budget woes – The Reporter
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and leaders serving on the Closing the Digital Divide Task Force identified new resources and partnerships today to support California schools preparing for distance learning this fall. The task force, co-chaired by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), has been working since April to help equip all California students with computing devices and connectivity as schools prepare for the new academic year.
Among the resources identified Thursday include more than $5 billion available in the state budget to school districts to acquire devices, strengthen distance learning and address learning gaps. Task Force members also learned more about the progress of a multi-million dollar initiative spearheaded by Intel Corp. to support online learning.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic forces more school districts to resume virtual learning in the fall, this work grows increasingly urgent. But it is not insurmountable: Together, I believe we have the opportunity to rapidly build on the progress we already have made to date to close the digital divide,” Thurmond said. “Hundreds of thousands of students still lack the basic tools to connect to their learning. This is unacceptable, and now is the time to accelerate our efforts so that no student is left behind.”
Source: Resources Identified to Support Distance Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Musician Dennis Tenney, a 1975 Fairfield High School graduate, joined Facebook recently to read the chatter about Assembly Bill 5.
He ventured out from there to join some horror movie fan groups and got a job composing the music for “Reunion from Hell.”
The horror film is in the fundraising stages and will star Cathy Podewell, who starred in various roles on “Dallas” from 1988-91.
Tenney and Podewell met when she was featured in 1988’s “Night of the Demons,” produced by Tenney’s brother, Kevin Tenney. It also features music from Dennis Tenney.
Source: Fairfield High grad makes most of musical gifts with work on numerous films, shows
By Todd R. Hansen
The little boy held out the ice cream to Sophia Anderson and said, “para ti.”
It means “for you.”
But the ice cream was for the boy and many others like him who live in the worst kind of poverty. Sophia and her brother, Luke Anderson, along with their family had bought the ice cream for the children in the village that has come to be known as Calle de la Esperanza.
Source: Green Valley brother, sister start nonprofit after coming face-to-face with poverty
By Sydney Johnson
Most California schools are preparing for a new reality of entirely remote classes this fall, after Gov. Gavin Newsom last week announced that schools cannot offer in-person instruction if they are in counties the state is closely monitoring for coronavirus spread.
That means it is back to the drawing board for the many districts that were previously planning on offering a variety of options to students and parents, ranging from in-person classes and online instruction to hybrid approaches that involve a blend of both.
Distance learning “is a challenge in any experience,” Newsom said in his daily briefing on Wednesday.
Source: California school districts brace for an online back-to-school season – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
The Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District has four by-area governing board seats up for grabs on Election Day, Nov. 3.
A few requirements must be met to qualify as a candidate. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, a resident of the trustee area, a registered voter and not employed by the school district, the county’s largest.
The open trustee areas are 1, 2, 3 and 6. For details about their boundaries, if interested in seeking election, visit www.fsusd.org. Also, Fairfield residents can go to www.solanocounty.com/depts/rov/ and input their address to determine their trustee area or call the county Registrar of Voters office at 784-6675.
Source: Information session planned for candidates seeking FSUSD board seats – The Reporter
By Maggie Fusek
The California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators recently named Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson its 2020 superintendent of the year for Region 1, which encompasses the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Each year, the CALSA recognizes educators through its “Honoring Our Own” Regional Award Program. The professional organization looks to honor school administrators who have made significant contributions to eliminating the Latina/o/x student achievement gap and acknowledge their distinguished leadership and excellence in education.
Source: Solano County’s Estrella-Henderson Named Superintendent Of Year | Benicia, CA Patch
By Todd R. Hansen
First 5 Solano has become a kind of emergency services agency since the Covid-19 pandemic created a need for child care for essential workers.
As the pandemic forced the closure of schools, preschools and other child care programs, the need for “pop-up care sites” where essential workers could take their children while they were working became more and more pressing.
So the Solano County Office of Emergency Services turned to First 5 Solano, starting in March, to find child care options, particularly in Vallejo.
Source: First 5 Solano becomes emergency services agency for child care
By Daily Republic Staff
Many school districts across California will have school board trustee elections on local ballots Nov. 3.
The Fairfield-Suisun School District will have four positions open for election in Trustee Areas 1, 2, 3 and 6.
A few mandated requirements must be met to qualify as a candidate.
Candidates must be at least 18 years old, a resident of the trustee area, a registered voter and not employed by the Fairfield-Suisun School District. Although trustees will be elected by their individual areas, their responsibility will require them to work and act as one collective body of seven in the interest of students from the entire school district, the school district reports in a press release.
Source: Potential Fairfield-Suisun schools trustees can get info at meeting
By Tim Goree
The Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, in partnership with the Solano County Public Health Department, is hosting two Tdap immunization clinics next week. California Health Laws require that students entering the 7th grade must have two doses of Varicella and a Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) booster given after age 7 and prior to entering 7th grade. These clinics are an opportunity for children to receive these immunizations, free of charge, regardless of medical insurance coverage. Children who will not take part in these clinics should schedule Tdap immunizations with their doctor as soon as possible.
The first clinic will be held at Grange Middle School on Wednesday, July 29th from 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM. The second clinic will be held at Crystal Middle School on Thursday, July 30th from 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM. Only one clinic needs to be attended to receive the required immunization.
Source: Press Release: Required Tdap Immunizations Provided Free of Charge
By Nick Sestanovich
The last two years have been a period of loss for Dixon High Schoolers. In that time, three students and one teacher have had their lives cut short, causing grief for their classmates and students.
One Dixon native is working to ensure that all four will continue to be remembered on campus. She painted a mural with symbols of their personality traits interspersed across the backdrop of Dixon changing through the seasons, which will be installed in the DHS quad.
Painting Dixon is a natural fit for Colleen Gnos, who now lives in Pismo Beach but grew up in the city, where she graduated from Dixon High in 1993. She has returned on occasion to paint pieces like the murals inside St. Peter’s Catholic Church or the farmer and his dog overlooking Interstate 80 on the outskirts of town. Gnos’ newest piece, “Remember: Life’s Seasons,” was described by the artist as one of her more emotional works.
Source: Dixon High mural pays tribute to late teens, teacher – The Reporter
By Daily Republic Staff
Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson was recently named the 2020 Superintendent of the Year for Region 1 of the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators.
The award recognizes Estrella-Henderson’s work to enhance education for all students.
“I’m humbled to be recognized among this group of distinguished individuals dedicated to addressing the needs of Latina/o/x students,” Estrella-Henderson said in a statement.
Source: Latino group honors Solano superintendent of schools