By Richard Bammer
Horace Tufts “Whit” Whitman was a former Air Force officer and former commercial airlines pilot who, in retirement, became a fierce advocate for public education.
He served on the Vacaville Unified governing board for nine years, his tenure ending in 2018, and was known for his strong opinions but also his generosity of time, spirit and money related to school district matters.
Whitman, 77 and a native of the Upper Midwest, had battled depression for some time and committed suicide Sunday, said family spokeswoman and sister-in-law Lois Chancellor. District officials on Monday also reported information about his death on the VUSD website.
Source: Former VUSD trustee ‘Whit’ Whitman, 77, dies – The Reporter
The California State Board of Education today approved criteria for California students to earn a new Seal of Civic Engagement, an incentive aimed at encouraging active and ongoing citizenship.
To earn the seal, students must demonstrate excellence in civic learning, participation in civics-related projects, contributions to their community, and an understanding of the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, and the American democratic system. Students may earn the seal on a transcript, diploma, or Certificate of Completion. California history and social science teachers worked in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop the initial requirements.
“The future of our democracy depends on a knowledgeable and actively engaged citizenry,” said State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond. “With this new seal, we hope to prepare all students with an empathetic concern for others, a deep understanding of democracy, and the civic engagement skills needed to contribute to the welfare of their local communities, the state, and the country.”
Source: New Seal of Civic Engagement – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
When a friend asked Dan Alcazar to paint a portrait of him, the reply was “show me something I have not seen before.”The friend obliged and made a strange face. The result of Alcazar’s work is featured on materials advertising the Fairfield-Suisun Visual Arts Association’s 57th annual juried art show.
“It just happened in the moment,” the 2013 Armijo High School graduate said.
The subject loved the painting, Alcazar said. In return, he painted a picture for Alcazar.
Source: Armijo grad’s painting promotes juried art show
The California Department of Education (CDE) has opened the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Annual Update in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) for School Year (SY) 2020–21 (October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021).
Prior to serving meals the Nutrition Services Division must approve your CNIPS SY 2020–21 Application Packet. If you are planning to serve SFSP meals on October 1, 2020, please submit your complete Application Packet as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition to the new year.
Source: SFSP Annual Update 2020–21 – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted a special webinar today for thousands of school leaders, parents, and educational partners to answer questions and assist schools in their understanding of state public health guidance as they continue to ensure the health and safety of students and staff during the pandemic.
The State Superintendent was joined by Ben Chida, Chief Deputy Cabinet Secretary in the Governor’s Office, and Dr. Erica Pan, Acting State Health Officer at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
“I want to acknowledge how proud I am of California’s entire education community, and I just have to commend everyone for doing your part,” Thurmond said. “This is not easy, but I am inspired by our students, educators, administrators, families, and partners leaning in under unimaginable circumstances. Thank you to our partners in the Governor’s Office and CDPH for helping school leaders plan for the weeks and months ahead. We are grateful for all efforts to help schools navigate these complicated decisions in their communities.”
Source: Webinar on Public Health Guidance – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Tribune Content Agency
Dr. Chris Kjolhede is focused on the children of central New York.
As co-director of school-based health centers at Bassett Healthcare Network, the pediatrician oversees about 21 school-based health clinics across the region – a poor, rural area known for manufacturing and crippled by the opioid epidemic.
From ankles sprained during recess to birth control questions, the clinics serve as the primary care provider for many children both in and out of the classroom. High on the to-do list is making sure kids are up to date on required vaccinations, said Kjolhede.
Source: With schools starting online, vaccinations head for recess
By Nick Sestanovich
Sara Bryan was set to begin a new life in August. She had recently moved from Martinez to her boyfriend’s house on Pleasants Valley Road in Winters and began teaching fifth grade at Orchard Elementary School.
Only three days into the school year, Bryan and her boyfriend had to evacuate with their home being destroyed in the LNU Lightning Complex Fire.
Brenda Hensley, a math teacher at Will C. Wood High School, also had to leave her home in Berryessa Highlands with her husband, cat and assorted belongings. Their home also burned down.
Source: Vacaville teachers who lost homes in fires keep on teaching – The Reporter
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s recent announcement that he would seek to withhold funding from California schools that choose to use a curriculum that reviews the impacts of slavery and how it has contributed to racism in our nation:
“President Trump’s latest announcement is a petty and disgraceful threat designed to distract and further divide our country at a time when we need true leadership that can unite us. California’s educators should feel empowered to lead courageous conversations with their students about the history of race and racism in our country—not worry if their school will lose funding.
“At the California Department of Education, we will continue to encourage school districts to talk about racism and unconscious bias in all forms. That includes building training programs to help our 10,000 schools address the impacts of implicit bias and race in our schools. We are also developing a first-in-the-nation statewide ethnic studies model curriculum that all of our school districts can use as a guide for classroom instruction that will shine a long-overdue light on the contributions of people of color.
Source: Thurmond Issues Statement in Response to Trump – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
Trusteee candidates for two seats on the Vacaville Unified governing board, plus two candidates running unopposed for two more, fielded a variety of questions during Thursday night’s virtual Vacaville People’s Forum.
Participating candidates with opponents included Tracee Stacy, an educator and publisher, and attorney Kelly Welsh, each vying for a seat to represent Trustee Area 6. Others were incumbent Michael Kitzes, manager of the Vacaville Children’s Clinic for Solano County Mental Health; and George Burton Jr., a district parent and businessman, each seeking the Area 7 seat. Khala Hastings, also seeking the Area 7 seat, declined to participate in the one-hour, 40-minute forum.
Source: VUSD candidate forum yields wide-ranging responses during online gathering – The Reporter
By Andrew Ujifusa
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has informed states that they should not count on getting the same waivers from federal testing mandates for this school year that they got last spring as the pandemic shut down schools.
In a Thursday letter to chief state school officers, DeVos said that these annual, summative assessments in English/language arts, math, and science are “at the very core” of the bipartisan agreement behind the Every Student Succeds Act, the main federal K-12 education law. And at a time when vulnerable students have been hurt the most by the pandemic, such tests are “among the most reliable tools available to help us understand how children are performing in school.”
Source: Betsy DeVos Tells States Not to Expect Waivers From Annual Tests – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Bill Hicks
Candidates for the Travis School District Board of Trustees had an opportunity this week to introduce themselves to voters during an online candidate forum organized by Travis School District parent Maria Figueroa.
Six candidates participated in the forum Tuesday, with two seats available.
Ivery Hood, the lone incumbent in Area 2, participated, along with Dave Amar, Christina Palmer and Manveer Sandhu, all of whom are running for two seats in Area 2.
Source: Forum spotlights 6 vying for 3 Travis school board seats
By Tim Goree
The California Department of Public Health is closely following the rate of immunization during the pandemic and immunization requirements for admission to school in California for the 2020-2021 school year. The Law requiring students to have a Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (Tdap) booster prior to entering 7th grade remains in place during Distance Learning.
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District is holding a Tdap immunization clinic on Tuesday, September 15th from 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM at Grange Middle School, 1975 Blossom Ave., Fairfield to provide students this required immunization free of charge.
Source: Press Release: Free Tdap Immunization Clinic
By Richard Bammer
The 800-member Vacaville Teachers Association on Thursday announced its endorsements for four seats on the Vacaville Unified governing board, two for the Solano County Office of Education board and a City Council candidate who currently serves as a district trustee.
By occupation, the seven candidates range from an incumbent and an administrator at Travis Federal Credit Union to an attorney and a physician, among others.
In a press release, union president Todd Blanset, an English teacher at Will C. Wood High, said the ratification vote was held Tuesday, with final selections coming after “a long and exhaustive process.”
Source: Vacaville teachers endorse local, county education candidates – The Reporter
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano County Office of Education will be distributing personal protection equipment to area public schools.
The program is in conjunction with the California Office of Emergency Services.
The supplies provided by the state include N95 masks for school medical staff; more than 58,000 cloth masks (sizes 7 to 12); more than 76,000 cloth masks (sizes K-6); more than 58,000 disposable masks (sizes 7 to 12); more than 76,000 disposable masks (sizes K-6); more than 25,000 disposable masks (sized for adults); more than 12,000 disposable face shields; 540 touchless thermometers; and more than 1,600 gallons of hand sanitizer.
Source: Solano Office of Education to distribute PPE to schools
By Richard Bammer
Six candidates for three seats on the Travis Unified governing board fielded more than a half-dozen questions during a virtual candidate forum Tuesday night, the inquiries ranging from priorities, if elected, to the purpose of a public education, and with one candidate making some pointed criticisms of incumbent Ivery Hood.
Candidates attending the forum were Meghan Thompson, a district parent; and Renell Travis, an active-duty airman stationed at Travis Air Force Base, both vying for the Area 1 seat on the five-member board.
The others, besides Hood, were Dave Amar, a retired business executive; Christina Palmer, a local business owner; and Manveer Sandhu, an intelligence analyst and entrepreneur, all vying for the two seats to represent Area 2.
Source: Six TUSD board candidates lay out their qualifications, goals during online forum – The Reporter
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced this week that the assessment used to determine a student’s English proficiency has successfully transitioned online, giving educators a powerful tool to reach and support English learners while school campuses are closed.
The Initial English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) has moved from a paper-pencil test to an online computer-based test and, as a result, produced real-time results. The online test became available to school districts and charter schools on August 20.
The Initial ELPAC serves as the state’s English language proficiency assessment to identify students as English learners. The test is administered to all students whose primary or home language is not English.
Source: Initial ELPAC Test Moves Online – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Freedman
A stunning 1949 Riley motorcar charred to the frame. Another British auto, a 1959 Morris Minor, also incinerated. And, lastly and just as ghastly, a 1967 MGB. Also history.
Three classic cars — and the home — of John and Patty Phillips burned to the ground by the LNU Lightning Complex Fire along with plenty of memories.
Yet, the retired Vacaville Unified School District music instructors — John still performs with the Vallejo Symphony Orchestra — remained grateful with all lives spared, including the family’s four cats and a dog.
Source: Retired music teachers’ Vacaville home lost to fire – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
Many businesses throughout Solano County will now be permitted to open indoors as long as they make modifications and/or do not exceed 25 percent capacity.
Solano County is assigned to Tier 1 of the California Department of Public Health’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” which assigns tiers to every county in the state to increase or decrease requirements on businesses based on COVID-19 activity.
Tier 1 is considered widespread coronavirus activity, which provides new requirements to certain businesses that have been closed or have had limited operations since the initial shelter-at-home order.
Source: Coronavirus: Some Solano businesses may open at 25% capacity – The Reporter
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
The man often referred to as “the chief architect of Fairfield” died early Tuesday at his home in Auburn.
B. Gale Wilson, who served as city manager for 32 years, celebrated his 91st birthday in July.
Wilson fell and broke his hip in January.
“He recovered quickly for his age,” said daughter Colleen Strazzo, who was adopted by Wilson when he married her mother.
Source: B. Gale Wilson, ‘chief architect of Fairfield,’ dies
By Matt Sieger
Physical activity seems to help the brain work more efficiently and effectively. So the brains of students in the Vacaville and Travis Unified School Districts must be in high gear, courtesy of a rigorous yet fun dose of physical education students are receiving via distance learning.
With no in-school classes, students are getting all their instruction online, including physical education, which research has shown can boost other forms of learning.
Jensen West of Vanden High School, Nick Voight of Will C. Wood and Jacob Wright of Vaca Peña Middle School are all passionate teachers of physical education. Their methods of P.E. instruction may vary, but the benefits reaped by the students are the same.
Source: Students reaping benefits of P.E. distance learning – The Reporter