State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that 32 schools won this year’s Civic Learning Awards, which celebrate public schools’ efforts to engage students in civic learning. This year, the awards emphasize school-based efforts that went uninterrupted despite the pandemic. Now in its ninth year, the awards program is co-sponsored by State Superintendent Thurmond and Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and is part of the Chief Justice’s Civic Learning Initiative External link opens in new window or tab.
“I’m so proud of these schools for keeping students engaged in civic learning during a pandemic, especially as our country grapples with serious social and civic conversations and actions that can reimagine governance at all levels,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “I’m a passionate supporter of civics education, which not only engages students, but often inspires them to make a difference for their communities. During my time both as a civics teacher and in the State Legislature, I’ve always encouraged students to get involved. My office continues to be open for students to share their ideas; I’ve heard from so many students during this pandemic, and their voices are crucial now more than ever.”
Source: 2021 Civic Learning Awards Announced – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)
By Joel Rosenbaum
Roman Conner Owens, 13, a seventh-grader at Kairos Public Schools listens to California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye address him and his classmates and teachers Wednesday as they took part in a virtual awards ceremony honoring the school’s accomplishments in civic education. According to a press release, Kairos was honored with a Civic Learning Award of Distinction by a panel of judges and educators selected by the Chief Justice’s Power of DemocracySteering Committee and is co-sponsored by Cantil-Sakauye and California State Superintendent of Schools Tony Thurmond who also participated in the award presentation.
Source: Kairos Public Schools honored for civic education – The Reporter
By Thomas Gase
Vallejo High School biology teacher Vivet Beckford-Nelson knows a ton about living organisms divided into many specialized fields. On Monday she was glad to see a lot of organisms back in just one place — on campus in her classroom.
“One year, one month and one week,” Beckford-Nelson said, with a laugh on Monday. “That’s how long I’ve been waiting to see my students again in person.”
Vallejo students were back in the classrooms on Monday, enjoying in-person instruction for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March. Kindergarten through sixth grade students returned to in-person instruction last week for the first time in the Vallejo City Unified School District, while this week it was students in the grades 7-12 returning to their campuses.
Source: In-person instruction comes back to Vallejo high schools – Times-Herald
By John Bartell
The people who make Northern California Strong are those who inspire us and make our communities a great place to live. ABC10 wants to highlight their strength by recognizing what they do. This week we want to introduce you to Mick Simpson, a custodian at Alamo Elementary in Vacaville.
He’s a man of many faces and the star of Alamo Elementary School’s morning video announcements. When he’s not playing “Captain Underpants” or the “Crazy Cat Lady”, Mick Simpson is the Vacaville Unified School District’s self-proclaimed COVID Buster.
Source: Beloved Vacaville custodian keeps elementary school COVID safe | abc10.com
By Nick Sestanovich
From 2017 to 2020, Kairos Public Schools was the recipient of a Civic Learning Award of Merit for its approaches in teaching civic education.
This year, Kairos broke that streak — by becoming one of three schools in California to receive the Civic Learning Award’s higher Distinction honor. Kairos joins Royal High School in Simi Valley and Villa Park Elementary School in Orange County, all of which were chosen by a panel of judges and educators chosen by California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye’s Power of Democracy Steering Committee, which seeks to further California students’ understanding of the judicial branch.
Source: Kairos receives 5th state honor for civic education – The Reporter
A Cooper Elementary School sixth-grader is the top speller this year in Solano County.
Olivia Miyashiro correctly spelled “faucet” for the first-place position, the Solano County Office of Education announced Wednesday.
The finals were held Tuesday via Zoom.
Xian Felicisimo, a fourth-grader from Nelda Mundy Elementary School in Fairfield, was a formidable competitor who won second-place overall, the announcement said.
Source: Vacaville girl wins Solano County Spelling Bee
A Vacaville Unified elementary student on Tuesday bested a Fairfield-Suisun Unified student to be declared Solano County’s top speller during the annual countywide spelling bee.
Cooper sixth-grader Olivia Miyashiro correctly spelled “faucet” to edge out Xian Felicisimo, a Nelda Mundy fourth-grader.
Jennifer Leonard, assistant superintendent of communications and community engagement for the Solano County Office of Education, announced the results in a press release issued Wednesday.
SCOE hosted the final round of the 45th annual event, open to all public and private school students in fourth through sixth grades, at 6 p.m., when the bee’s final round was held via Zoom, so the public could watch the top 10 contenders compete for the title, she noted in the prepared statement.
Source: Vaca sixth-grader rules as Solano’s top speller – The Reporter
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) were joined by education leaders today to urge support for new legislation designed to help support male educators of color and diversify the teaching workforce.
Assembly Bill (AB) 520, sponsored by State Superintendent Thurmond and authored by Assemblymember Gipson, received unanimous approval from the California State Assembly Committee on Education last week. The bill would establish the California Diversifying Teacher Grant Program, awarding $15 million in grants for school districts to provide one-time competitive grants that develop and implement new (or expand existing) programs that address a local need to develop the teacher workforce while emphasizing the retention of male teachers of color.
“We regularly talk about equity, but we must make equity the forefront and center in our schools. This bill is about adding tools to the toolbox and creating the opportunities to motivate more men of color to be in the classroom. The research is undeniable,” Gipson said. “The National Bureau of Economic Research reported that having a Black teacher for one year in elementary school raised long-term education attainment for Black male students, especially for those from low-income households. AB 520 would provide schools with the tools to help them build a more diverse teacher population and students with opportunities to succeed.”
Source: Support for Bill to Diversify Teaching Workforce – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)
Kairos Public Schools was awarded a Civic Learning Award of Distinction by a panel of judges and educators selected by the Chief Justice’s Power of Democracy Steering Committee, both the school and state’s courts announced Tuesday in separate press releases.
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, head of the state’s judicial branch, co-sponsors the awards with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to honor outstanding achievements in civics education.
Kairos Public Schools previously earned a lesser Civic Learning Award of Merit for the past four years.
Source: Kairos Public Schools earns Civic Learning Award of Distinction
By Richard Freedman
A thyroid condition, high blood pressure, and congenital heart failure couldn’t thwart Lanzell Williams-Goff’s relief of dropping her 10-year-old grandson off for class Monday morning at Stefan Manor Elementary School.
“It’s awesome. It’s great. I was ready for him to go back,” Williams-Goff said.
It didn’t matter to the ailing grandma that the hybrid back-to-school schedule is an abbreviated 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. four days a week for Vallejo’s 16 elementary schools.
“It’s been torture. This pandemic has really set our lives back and made it hard for us with the living situation, money situation and all the stress,” Williams-Goff said. “When I heard the kids were going back, I was jumping up saying ‘Thank you Jesus! Hallelujah!’”
Source: Vallejo principals thrilled seeing students, parents in person – Times-Herald
Kristyn Andrews, assistant principal at Cambridge and Foxboro elementary schools, has been selected as Elementary Co-Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators.
Travis School District trustees will recognize the honor when they meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in a virtual meeting accessible by going to https://zoom.us/j/97357080731?pwd=RTN2cllpMEZxem1TMzNsYURIWEVaZz09.
Source: Trustees to recognize assistant principal at 2 Travis schools
By Matt O’Donnell
When the Solano Community College baseball team throws its first pitch on Saturday, it will officially be the top of the first.
In more ways than one.
The Falcons will return to competition for the first time since last spring. The school “opted in” for late spring sports — baseball, softball, swimming and tennis — in February as athletes came back to campus the week of March 1.
Solano is testing athletes twice a week, even though California Community College Athletic Association has recommended testing once per week.
Source: Solano Community College about to launch late spring sports – Times-Herald
BY Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
Biden pledged to unravel the Title IX rule put forth by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, which was broadly unpopular among campus leaders and advocates for sexual violence prevention.
The regulation took effect in August. It constructs a judiciary-style system for assessing and potentially punishing sexual violence, in which both parties are allowed to cross-examine the other through a surrogate. It also restricts the cases colleges need to look into, including many of those that occur off campus. And it narrows the definition of sexual harassment, matching the one used by the U.S. Supreme Court in Title IX cases.
Legal experts have said it would be difficult for the Biden administration to immediately strike down the regulation, which was cemented through formal rulemaking and, therefore, carries the force of law.
Source: Ed Dept starts review of DeVos’s Title IX regulation | Higher Ed Dive
By Nick Sestanovich
While many students are happy to be returning to campuses after being away for so long, the isolation stemming from the yearlong closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic has also taken a toll on their mental health.
It is an area educators throughout the country are working to address and one that staff at Eugene Padan Elementary School have placed emphasis on.
Kindergarten teacher Kimberly Arnold said this has included incorporating social-emotional learning curricula at every grade level, establishing a committee to support best practices for teaching such curricula, and hiring mental health practitioners to support students most in need.
Source: Coronavirus: Padan prioritizes mental health lessons as students return – The Reporter
By Tristi Rodriguez
A handful of high schools in the Bay Area have announced they will be holding in-person graduation ceremonies this summer.
The Vacaville Unified School District got the O.K. from Solano Public Health and the Vacaville Unified School District Governing Board to host in-person commencement celebrations in June for the graduating classes of both 2020 and 2021.
Source: Bay Area high schools get OK for in-person graduation ceremonies | KRON4
School-based mental health services and support programs are important to creating safe and supportive learning environments.
The Vacaville Unified School District has developed a new tool to provide students with a variety of resources.
Teacher Kim Arnold and Joanna Littell, a mental health physician, joined KCRA 3 on Wednesday to talk about available mental health support for students.
Source: Q&A: Vacaville School District officials explain new tool for student mental health support