Betsy DeVos resigns, citing violent unrest in Capitol | Higher Ed Dive

By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf

DeVos, a billionaire and longtime GOP supporter, had a rocky start in the Trump administration, beginning with her high-profile confirmation hearings during which she infamously stumbled over basic questions from lawmakers and cited the need for guns in K-12 schools to protect them from grizzly bears.

She was a widely unpopular pick among legislators and education groups on the left. She barely passed muster with the Senate during her confirmation, with Vice President Mike Pence needing to serve as the tie-breaking vote.

While DeVos is perhaps best known for her advocacy of school choice in the K-12 realm, she introduced several notable regulations that confounded higher education.

Source: Betsy DeVos resigns, citing violent unrest in Capitol | Higher Ed Dive

2020 National ESEA Distinguished Schools Announced – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today congratulated two California schools for receiving national recognition as 2020 National Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Distinguished Schools—formerly known as National Title I Distinguished Schools. Sixth Street Prep School in the Victor Elementary School District and Solano Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles Unified School District are two of up to 100 schools throughout the country being recognized.

“Congratulations to principals Collin Rowe and Jorge Parra, as well as all of the educators, staff, administrators, parents, and students at these schools,” said Thurmond. “Not only were these two schools already named 2020 California Distinguished Schools, they’re also being recognized for their excellent work closing achievement gaps between student groups and ensuring academic growth for students who need extra assistance.”

Source: 2020 National ESEA Distinguished Schools Announced – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

Coronavirus: Kairos becomes clinical testing lab – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Kairos Public Schools no longer has to wait days for a staff member to test negative for COVID-19 to return to campus. Through the acquisition of a rapid testing kit, all of that can be done in a matter of minutes.

On Dec. 15, Kairos received certification from the California Department of Public Health to be designated as a licensed clinical laboratory, allowing staff to receive a test and get results within 15 minutes. Jared Austin, executive director of Kairos, said that one of the challenges since reopening has been staff taking periods of time off as they await results. Currently, if a staff member is exhibiting symptoms, they must stay home until they receive a negative result or quarantine for 10 days. While no staff member has tested positive yet, he said that prolonged absences would create operational challenges.

Source: Coronavirus: Kairos becomes clinical testing lab – The Reporter

Bay Area high school sports on pause: Where things stand after holidays – Times-Herald

By Darren Sabedra

When the California Department of Public Health released its long-awaited youth sports guidelines in mid-December, it stated that while nothing would start before Jan. 25, it would reassess the situation by Jan. 4.

Well, Jan. 4 came and went without a reassessment — at least a public one — by the CDPH.

The Bay Area News Group reached out Monday to the California Interscholastic Federation, the state’s governing body for high school athletics, to see if there was an update.There was not.

Source: Bay Area high school sports on pause: Where things stand after holidays – Times-Herald

California school district improves scratch-cooking program – Food Management

By Jennifer Crain

By the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the student nutrition department of Vacaville Unified School District had transitioned two of its heat-and-serve kitchens into scratch-cooking hubs, the better to serve its 13,000 students. They had also forged relationships with local farms and started making progress on nutrition goals, such as limiting sugars.

While many school districts experienced setbacks to similar programs when the pandemic closed schools, Juan Cordon, director of student nutrition, says he felt driven to continue delivering scratch meals to students.

Source: California school district improves scratch-cooking program

FSUSD swears in four trustees, including two newcomers – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Fairfield-Suisun Unified installed four members to its governing board earlier this month, including two newcomers, one a community college instructor, the other a private attorney and former trustee, it has been announced.

During a board meeting on Thursday, Superintendent Kris Corey administered the oath of office to veteran members Judi Honeychurch, who represents Area 3, and Bethany Smith, who represents Area 1, and to newcomer Helen Tilley, who represents Area 2. Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown swore-in Ana Petero, who represents Area 6, before a governing board meeting began. Each will serve a four-year term that ends in 2024.

A former governing board member, Tilley is a private attorney-mediator providing alternative dispute resolution services by appointment through her Benicia and San Ramon offices. Additionally, she is an adjunct law professor and subject matter expert with National University in Pleasant Hill.

Source: FSUSD swears in four trustees, including two newcomers – The Reporter

Are teachers next for vaccine after Newsom announces school plan? – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

The entire world is like a song by the Kinks when it comes to the two new COVID-19 vaccines — who will be the next in line?

Earlier this week it was recommended that the answer to that question be first responders, grocery store and restaurant workers as well as teachers.

With Gov. Gavin Newson announcing on Wednesday a $2 billion package of financial incentives to encourage state school districts to resume in-person instruction as early as February, it’s a good chance teachers will be in the next tier.

Source: Are teachers next for vaccine after Newsom announces school plan? – Times-Herald

Voters fill plethora of Solano school, college board seats – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

School and college boards governed over the end of one school year and the beginning of another in a very, very different world.

The Covid-19 pandemic added the term distance learning to the common educational lexicon.

And some of those boards got a new makeup of members in November.

Judi Honeychurch, for the second election cycle, faced no opposition and therefore did not appear on the ballot for her Trustee Area 3 seat on the Fairfield-Suisun School District. Bethany Smith similarly returns as the Trustee Area 1 representative.

Source: Voters fill plethora of Solano school, college board seats

Fairfield-Suisun school board revisits plans for return to in-class teaching – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

A return to in-person learning was on the minds of everyone Thursday at the Fairfield-Suisun School District governing board meeting.

But any plans for a decision to do so at the board’s meeting Jan. 14 remain in flux given that Solano County is now included in the state’s most-restrictive lockdown since March to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

Nevertheless, plans continue to be developed to allow for some sort of return to on-campus instruction.

Source: Fairfield-Suisun school board revisits plans for return to in-class teaching

FSUSD Prepares for In-Person Instruction – Daily Republic

By Kris Corey

The Governing Board of the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District (FSUSD) will vote on the return to in-person instruction plan during the January 14, 2021 Governing Board meeting. To prepare for the Governing Board’s decision, FSUSD has strategically utilized Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) dollars to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety equipment to prepare for in-person instruction.

FSUSD’s Warehouse, Facilities, and Operations Departments implemented a robust plan to deliver PPE and safety equipment to school sites during the month of January, 2021.

Source: Press Release: FSUSD Prepares for In-Person Instruction