By Katy St. Clair
School board members balked Thursday at a plan to spend up to $500,000 with a national firm to provide teachers and related professionals during the current school year to blunt a shortage of staff.
The matter was the only item on the agenda for a special meeting that began after the regular board meeting Thursday had ended.
Source: Vaca board balks at $500,000 plan to address staffing shortage at school sites
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Eric Land’s inner child takes over as Halloween draws near.
He’s created Fearfilled Prep this year inside the Sullivan Interagency Youth Services gym.
“There’s a lot of space here,” said Land, who heads up sKreamZ Haunted Attractions. “This is probably one of the biggest.”
Land and the Fairfield Police Activities League began working together on haunted offerings in 2010, setting up frights in a variety of locations including the PAL’s former center next to Grocery Outlet, a one-time quilt shop in downtown Fairfield and a long-abandoned restaurant at the Solano Town Center mall.
Source: PAL joins ‘sKreamZ’ to transform Fairfield school gym into Fearfilled Prep
By Susan Hiland
Superintendent Kris Corey reported some good news on the Covid front this week at the regular school board meeting Thursday.
She said out of 237 Covid tests that were administered, the results came back with no new Covid cases as of Thursday morning.
Staff continues to provide contact tracing and testing as required by law but was overwhelmed, so the district hired a new coordinator to help keep things running smoothly.
Source: Fairfield school board hears some good news with Covid-19 update
By Katy S. Clair
School board members put off a decision this week on how best to spend nearly $9.235 million in pandemic relief money.
Superintendent Jane Shamieh outlined how the district would use the money to:
- Comply with Covid-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Address the impact of lost instructional time.
- Respond to the needs of all students, particularly those disproportionately affected by the pandemic, such as low-income, unhoused and children and teens with special needs.
Source: Vaca school board delays final discussion on plan to spend nearly $10M in Covid relief funds
By John Fensterwald, EdSource
One of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s and the Legislature’s most ambitious and expensive education programs — the extension of the school day and of the school year for elementary school students — won’t happen this year, at least in most districts.
And that’s now OK with the Legislature and the Newsom administration, which had funded it to start right away.
School districts and charter schools say they are struggling to find enough teachers, substitute teachers, bus drivers and Covid contact tracers to fill existing and new pandemic-related jobs, so adding before- and after-school positions is unfeasible, they say.
Source: California staffing shortage delays ambitious program to extend school day and year – The Vacaville Reporter
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today congratulated 26 California public schools that have been chosen as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools. This prestigious award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools that close achievement and opportunity gaps and where students achieve high learning standards.
“Congratulations to these schools for creating safe and supportive school climates that set the tone for student achievement during what might be one of the most difficult times in education—and in our lifetimes,” Thurmond said. “I commend all of these schools for meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all their students as well as finding creative ways to continue closing opportunity gaps during extraordinary circumstances.”
Schools are recognized based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. They are among their state’s highest performing schools based on all student scores, subgroup student scores, and graduation rates.
Source: SPI Applauds the 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)
All Solano Community College employees, students and volunteers are required to wear a face covering or show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test while on campus, starting Oct. 15.
The Solano Community College governing board approved the mandates via a the resolution adopted Sept. 15.
Participants in all indoor activities and classes will be required to face coverings, regardless of vaccination status.
The decision was based on health and safety guidance from the state, Cal/OHSA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration, according to a press release from the college.
Source: Solano College Covid-19 mandates to take effect Oct. 15 for students, teachers, volunteers on all campuses
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a bold vision for ensuring that every California student will learn to read by third grade by the year 2026 during a virtual press conference on Tuesday. The effort will also include a biliteracy milestone for dual-language learners.
In order to advance this goal, Superintendent Thurmond said a task force will be created to bring together practitioners, advocates, researchers, foundation partners, thought leaders, students, parents, and other experts to identify key strategies for advancing this goal. Efforts are underway in the California Department of Education (CDE) to build out a task force structure and membership, as well as establish when the task force will meet and details on the types of questions they will be tackling. In addition to announcing the task force formation, Superintendent Thurmond affirmed that Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) has agreed to sponsor legislation to help advance this goal.
Source: SPI to Ensure CA Students to Read by Third Grade – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)
The Vacaville School District is seeking public input on how to utilize Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding from the state.
To get feedback, the district is using a tool called ThoughtExchange. Go to tejoin.com/scroll/279357871 to participate.
Participants will be asked to respond to one open-ended question. Stars can be assigned to ideas shared by others. It’s an opportunity to see what is important to the group.
Source: Vaca schools seek public input on spending through ThoughtExchange
The Fairfield-Suisun School District Community Fun Run returns at 9 a.m. Oct. 9 at B. Gale Wilson TK-8 School, 3301 Cherry Hills Court.
There will be a 1-mile run and a 5K. Both events can be done as a fun run or walk.
The first race at 9 a.m. will be an untimed 1-mile run. The 5K (3.1 miles) will begin at 9:30 a.m. It is a timed race using chip technology. Race bibs must be worn in front in a visible location in order to be properly timed.
Source: School district to host Fun Run at B. Gale Wilson
Trustees of the Fairfield-Suisun School District will consider adopting changes to various board policies at theirs meeting Thursday.
The presentation will be given by Trustee Judi Honeywell.
The policies to be updated include Civility; Integrated Waste Management; Drug and Alcohol Testing for School Bus Drivers; Collective Bargaining Agreement; Employee Security; Child Abuse Prevention and Reporting; Suicide Prevention; Safe Routes to School Program; Search and Seizure; Sexual Harassment; Child Care and Development; Environmental Education; and Developer Fees.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun school trustees to consider board policy changes
By Susan Hiland
The Fairfield-Suisun school board is expected to adopt updates to the district’s Covid-19 plan when trustees gather Thursday.
The updates are required by law.
Every local education agency, such as a school district, during the 2020-2021 school year was required to develop a Covid-19 Safety Plan.
That plans for the past eight months has consisted of two components: a Covid-19 Prevention Program, based on Cal/OSHA regulations, and a Covid-19 School Guidance Checklist.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun trustees set to update Covid Safety Plan
Rocky Hill Trail project artist Leslie Molera is looking for up to seven local youth artists to participate on her project.
The artwork consists of a mural on four steel panels and staggered cement piers with a portion of the panel artwork to be student-designed.
Molera is a Vacaville artist who has taught in after-school mural painting programs with students at Markham Elementary School and the Mariposa Boys and Girls Club, and at Buckingham Charter Magnet High School.
Source: Vaca artist seeks student assistants on Rocky Hill project
By Nick Sestanovich
Mick Simpson is more than just Alamo Elementary School’s custodian.
In many ways, he has been a source of joy for the students during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, whether playing characters for the school’s morning announcements, painting murals of different cartoon characters, or taking the otherwise mundane task of disinfecting classrooms to a new level by imagining himself as a Ghostbuster, only working to keep the virus at bay rather than paranormal creatures.
It is this approach to Simpson’s job that has earned him a reputation not only across campus but beyond. He was featured on a local news broadcast back in April and more recently in the pages of Time magazine for a feature honoring school staff throughout the country.
Source: Alamo custodian brings joy during pandemic, gets national recognition – The Vacaville Reporter
By Jasmine Aguilera, Madeleine Carlisle and Katie Reilly
Mick Simpson noticed that kindergartners seemed a little scared when they returned to the school building in the spring and saw him walking around with a backpack of disinfectant, spraying everything down. So he got playful, decorating his gear with a Ghostbusters sticker and dubbing himself the “COVID Buster.”
“I try to keep it fun and exciting to come to school,” says Simpson, 50, a custodian at Alamo Elementary School in Vacaville, Calif.—a city of about 97,000 residents, roughly 55 miles northeast of San Francisco.
Source: Meet the Educators Who Saved A Pandemic School Year | Time
By Kimberly K. Fu
Dozens gathered at Nashe Mesta Park in Vacaville’s Brighton Landing neighborhood Friday to enjoy food, fun and celebrate progress of Kairos Public Schools’ school expansion.
As students scampered around the playground during the Kairos Innovative Scholars Program annual picnic, parents and education officials perused renderings of two phases of the planned Kairos campus. It will be located just beyond the park, on 11 acres owned by the school.
Jared Austin, Kairos co-founder and executive director, detailed the soon-to-be 11,000 square foot learning center complete with ample bells and whistles.
Source: Officials unveil plans for new Kairos learning center, campus – The Vacaville Reporter
By Joel Rosenbaum
Vacaville High School senior, Ella Conolley, 17 reacts to the cheers of her family and friends after she was crowned the 2021 Homecoming Queen during halftime of the Bulldogs’ 49-9 victory Friday over visiting Tracy High School.
Source: Vaca High crowns Homecoming royalty – The Vacaville Reporter
By Susan Hiland
Kairos Public Schools hosted its annual Kairos Innovative Scholars Program family picnic Friday with a little more to celebrate this year.
The school will soon be opening an 11,000-square-foot Kairos Learning Center in the Brighton Landing Development area. The Silicon Schools Fund gifted the school $125,000 at the picnic Friday with about 75 families and children in attendance.
“At the moment we are going through the city to get everything approved,” Kairos co-founder and executive director Jared Austin said. “We are looking at developing this over five years.”
Source: Kairos Schools growing in Vacaville thanks to cash infusion
By Katy St. Clair
The Solano Community College governing board has unanimously passed a masking, vaccination, and/or regular testing mandate for all of its students, faculty and staff.
The vote was passed at Wednesday evening’s meeting.
The board received several letters in support of the mandates, which were read aloud at the meeting. Biology instructor Michelle Smith commended the body for its consideration of the measures.
Source: Solano College board adds mask mandate, vaccine-testing requirement
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted a webinar on Wednesday for local educational agencies (LEAs) and education partners to discuss how schools can support students, families, and communities by addressing and investing more in mental and behavioral health services.
State Superintendent Thurmond was joined by a distinguished panel of state leaders for the “Investing in Mental Health: A Roundtable Discussion” webinar that featured conversations about how LEAs, educational leaders, and policymakers can build what Thurmond said has never been done before: creating and implementing the most robust and historic level of mental health programs throughout the state.
“We have to support our students and educators,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “This is the beginning, not the end, and we will continue to build the most robust system that we’ve ever seen to support students. Our schools are often the center for our students and their families. When they’re hungry or hurt, we must attend to their needs so we can support their learning and well-being.”
Source: SPI, Leaders Discuss Mental Health Services – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)