Parents and community members celebrated students’ achievements and viewed their projects online Thursday during the Virtual Science and Engineering Fair, followed by a virtual awards ceremony.
“The Science and Engineering Fair is an excellent opportunity for our elementary, middle and high school students to apply science and engineering skills to investigate problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and develop intelligent conclusions,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a press release. “Through this event, we hope to inspire more students to consider a career in science, engineering or a related field.”
Source: Vanden High, Green Valley Middle schools shine at Solano Science Fair
Congressmen Mike Thompson and John Garamendi announced on Thursday that Solano County schools will receive $3,944,431 from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Emergency Connectivity Fund Program (ECF).
This includes $2,013,524 to the Vallejo City Unified School District and $657,375 to the Benicia Unified School District.
The ECF program, which was created as part of the American Rescue Plan, helps schools and libraries ensure that students can connect to the internet at home, allowing them to take advantage of online learning and do their homework. Known as the “homework gap,” students who lack access to the internet at home often fall behind their peers as curriculums and educational opportunities rely more and more on the ability to conduct online research and connect to the web.
Source: Thompson, Garamendi announce nearly $4 million for Solano County schools – Times-Herald
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond honored six outstanding mathematics and science teachers today who are finalists from California for the 2022 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).
“These teachers have persevered through the challenges of the past year and are prime examples of excellence in the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math to their students,” Thurmond said. “Their incredible efforts inspire STEM and computer science students to think creatively and critically in the classroom in preparation for the challenges of tomorrow.”
The PAEMST program is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Presidential Award recipients are honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., and receive a $10,000 special award from the NSF.
Source: SSPI Announces 2022 PAEMST Finalists – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)
When the pandemic struck in March 2020, 21-year-old college student Charles Taylor decided to use some of his lockdown time to delve into the role prominent Blacks played in ancient European history and to create a one-of-a-kind web project to display his findings.
“I wanted to create a site that explores unconventional Black history, history that anyone will find interesting, history that has been overlooked or just not thought of ordinarily,” Taylor said in a press release. “The site is for everyone, but I am hoping Blacks, in particular, will read what’s there. It will give any reader a broader sense of our history and culture.”
Taylor, who is African American, wrote and designed the site after doing his own research. He was able to amass a large personal library and has now become an independent historian on the subject matter.
Source: Solano student completes web project on Blacks and ancient European history
By Matt Miller
Solano Community College Superintendent-President Celia Esposito-Noy opened her remarks at Wednesday’s ceremony for the new Library and Learning Resource Center by saying, “I’m happy to see everyone full size.”
“After looking at just heads for two years on the computer, we finally made it,” Esposito-Noy said. “There is no better reason than to be here on campus to open this incredible new building. We’ve all waited a long time for this.”
Solano College’s newest prize to the Rockville campus officially opened its doors for students and faculty. The Library and Learning Resource Center will be the new heart of campus and allow access to many state-of-the-art resources and tools.
Source: Solano College christens state-of-the-art Library and Learning Resource Center
By Nick Sestanovich
Will C. Wood High School appeared different Wednesday than it did a year ago since the campus reopened for in-person instruction. Mainly, you could see the expressions on some students’ faces and not others.
On Friday, Vacaville Unified School District changed the guidance to its masking policy that was put in place amid the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than requiring students to wear masks indoors, it is now an option, in keeping with an announcement made by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Feb. 28.
VUSD Communications Director Elaine Kong said the district has been following the California Department of Public Health guidance for K-12 schools from the beginning, and the announcement from Newsom resulted in the mask requirement changing into a strong recommendation.
Source: VUSD switches masking from requirement to recommendation – The Vacaville Reporter
During a public auction last month, the Vallejo school board agreed to sell four unused little league fields to a residential developer for $8.2 million.
The little league fields are one of two properties the school board sought to sell after opening bidding during its Feb. 16 meeting.
The highest bid came from KB Home North Bay, LLC, which offered nearly $4 million more than the district’s asking price of $4.8 million for the 17.71 acres of land located along Rollingwood Drive and Benicia Road. The fields were once home for East Vallejo Little League baseball.
Source: Vallejo school board to sell unused little league fields to home builder for $8M
The Solano Land Trust will open several of its locations this week and people from throughout the area are invited.
Peter Rosenfield will lead a yoga class under the eucalyptus trees in Rush Ranch’s picnic area for Yoga with Poles from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at Rush Ranch. People are invited to creatively explore using hiking poles as props for various poses. Bring your hiking poles or a couple of waist-high sticks – no mats are needed.
Get the Rush, a free gathering with activities for the entire family, returns from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Activities include a working blacksmith shop, the Marsh Walk, the Storybook Walk and the self-guided Geocache scavenger hunt, Explorer Quest, presented in partnership with the Solano County Office of Education.
Source: The Week Ahead: Solano Land Trust opens Rush Ranch, Jepson Prairie for outdoor activities
By Susan Hiland
Fairfield-Suisun School District this week got a look into the future of its finances.
The quick view: A shortfall in revenue will mean changes in spending.
Amanda Rish, director of Fiscal Services, on Thursday presented the second interim report and certification of the district’s ability to meet its financial obligations for the coming year.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun board reviews financial outlook that includes spending cuts
By Thomas Gase
Once denied, Caliber Public Schools is still attempting to open a high school in Vallejo to accompany its current kindergarten to eighth grade campus in the city — Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy.
Earlier this week a public hearing was held in front of the Solano County Office of Education for the Caliber High School petition. In December, the Vallejo City Unified School District (VCUSD) denied the petition on the basis of fiscal impact.
Caliber’s high school petition was originally submitted in September of 2021.
Source: Caliber Public Schools appealing VCUSD denial – Times-Herald
For those high school juniors and seniors who do not want to let their minds wander this summer, the city of Vacaville has the program for you.
In conjunction with the Vacaville and Travis unified school districts, the city will be hosting Summer at City Hall, a four-week program where incoming juniors and seniors learn daily lessons about their local government and participate in an internship at a city department. For their participation, students will receive five units of extracurricular credit and a $250 stipend.
Orientation will take place June 6, and classes will be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays June 7 to 30, with a graduation ceremony on the final day. Internships will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on class days.
Source: Summer at City Hall application period opens Monday – The Vacaville Reporter
By Richard Bammer
Despite an apparent rebuff from some Travis Unified leaders, a communitywide movement to memorialize a star Vanden High student-athlete who was shot last year and later died will continue, organizers of the effort said Friday.
Specifically, some of those who are leading the effort to memorialize Daniel Dejon Hughes, 17, said they are motivated more than ever to name the school’s sports stadium after the Viking football and basketball player.
In interviews and in emails, they note that the football field was named after George A. Gammon several decades ago but the stadium has never been formally named.
Source: Effort to honor slain Vanden athlete to continue – The Vacaville Reporter
About two weeks after California said it will end its statewide face mask requirement in K-12 schools at the stroke of midnight March 12, the Vallejo City Unified School District announced it will do the same.
On Feb. 28, VCUSD Communications Officer Stephen Nichols said, “We will collaborate with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal/OSHA, and our employees to evaluate how to safely move forward in the best interest of our students and staff. As we learn more details we will respond with our next steps.”
On Wednesday, VCUSD made those next steps, as it released a statement saying, “After consulting with the California Department of Public Health, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control guidelines, and our employee group leadership, (the district) has decided to end the face mask requirement in grades K-12 starting Monday, March 14.”
Source: Vallejo City Unified School District to end face mask requirement – Times-Herald
By Matt Miller
The Solano County Board of Education held a spirited public hearing Wednesday at City Hall concerning a petition from Caliber Public Schools to start a high school in Vallejo.
Caliber Public Schools filed a petition in January to appeal the decision in December of the Vallejo City School District governing board. The Vallejo board unanimously denied Caliber’s petition to establish a new high school because of the district’s ongoing fiscal troubles.
The Solano Board of Education held the first public hearing Wednesday to consider the level of support for the petition by teachers employed by the school district, other employees of the school district, and parents.
Source: Board of Education holds hearing for proposed Caliber High School in Vallejo
By Joel Rosenbaum
America Perez-Ochoa, 14 (right) a freshman at Buckingham Collegiate Charter Academy takes notes as she speaks with Dr. Jacquae Walker (left,) a family practice physician, with Kaiser Permanente in Fairfield during the school’s annual career fair Thursday at the Georgie Duke Sports Center. Students from the school were able to speak and network with a variety of professionals from a range of careers including, medical, military, engineering, public safety, and journalism during the school-wide event.
Source: Photo: Buckingham Students Plan For The Future – The Vacaville Reporter
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today proudly recognized Alice Waters—chef, author, restaurateur, food activist, and educator—as an Ambassador to California Education, during National School Breakfast Week.
Waters and Thurmond visited Michelle Obama School in the West Contra Costa Unified School District earlier this week, where they helped launch Project Cereal External link opens in new window or tab., an initiative with partner Conscious Kitchen, that is one of the nation’s first programs to feed students organic foods daily.
Waters joins distinguished Education Ambassadors Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dolores Huerta, Dr. Karen Korematsu, and Betty Reid Soskin in demonstrating outstanding dedication and contributions to support the education of California’s students.
Source: SPI Names Alice Waters CA Education Ambassador – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and partners are redoubling efforts to help students recover and expand literacy skills amidst national reports showing declines in student reading levels during the pandemic.
“Reading is a gateway skill. When children learn to read, they can read to learn anything,” said Thurmond. “We also know that when students don’t learn to read by third grade, they are at greater risk to drop out of school, and they are at greater risk to end up in the criminal justice system. We are committed in our work to support learning recovery of our students and are making every effort to strengthen literacy programs in our state.”
Last September, Thurmond launched an initiative to ensure students learn to read by third grade by 2026. In order to advance this goal, Thurmond pledged to secure one million book donations for students in need.Through a partnership with Renaissance Learning, Inc., students downloaded more than five million free online books as part of the literacy efforts.
Source: SPI Reaffirms Commitment to Literacy Programs – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)
By Susan Hiland
Members of the community came out Tuesday to urge the Travis School Board to honor one of the town’s slain teens, Daniel Dejon Hughes.
Hughes was shot and killed in April 2021, when he was 17 years old. Both the Vanden High School football and basketball teams dedicated their seasons this academic year to his memory by wearing No. 9, which is the number of the football jersey Hughes wore for Vanden High. Students also honored him by creating custom clothes, car decals, tattoo memorials, custom jewelry, wristbands, lanyards and other items.
Banners were unfurled at the meeting and signs were held with Hughes’ football number as students, family and community members took three minutes each to explain how Hughes’ death affected the lives of those left behind.
Source: Family, friends plead with Travis School Board to honor slain student
By Susan Hiland
Travis School Board members approved an agreement Tuesday between the Travis School District and the California School Employees Association for 2021-22 and 2022-23 that will cost the district more than $400,000 a year.
The agreement includes updated salary schedules.
The tentative agreement looked at multiple sections of the collective bargaining agreement, including evaluations, state disability insurance, vacation, salary and benefits for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, professional growth, and calendars.
Source: Travis board approves agreement with employees
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Senator Mike McGuire (D-North Coast) today joined mental health leaders and professionals to urge support of a bill that would provide grants of $25,000 to aspiring clinicians who commit to serving two years in communities of high need. Seeking solutions to lower student-to-counselor ratios in schools is not a new effort or one unique to California. However, through Senate Bill (SB) 1229, California is pursuing an ambitious plan to help recruit 10,000 professionals to help support the growing mental health needs of students. The California Department of Education (CDE) is proud to partner with Senator McGuire on this priority legislation.
“During this pandemic, our students have experienced extreme levels of depression, we’ve seen a doubling in the percentage of Black students who have expressed suicidal feelings, and we know there’s an increase in hospitalizations for young people and adults,” said Superintendent Thurmond. “California has had enough mental health professionals to provide services to about 30 percent of those who needed it even before the pandemic, and those challenges were even greater in rural communities. We’ve got to build out our school workforce in many places: teachers and classified staff and certainly mental health clinicians in order to meet the needs of our six million students.”
Source: SPI Supports Mental Health Clinicians Bill – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)