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
By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf
The regulation directs how colleges should investigate and potentially punish campus sexual misconduct under Title IX, the federal law barring sex discrimination on campuses. It serves as a replacement for guidance the Obama administration issued in 2011, which is credited with giving greater national attention to the issue of campus sexual assault.
Shortly after a draft version of the rule was released in 2018, Title IX experts raised concerns that it might clash with existing state laws.
Source: California bill likely conflicts with new Title IX regulation | Education Dive
The California Department of Education (CDE) has opened the School Nutrition Programs (SNP) Annual Update in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) for School Year (SY) 2020–21 (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021).
The CDE recognizes the challenges that School Food Authorities (SFA) face while preparing for the upcoming SY. As a result, we want to provide as much time as possible for the Annual Update process. The CDE is actively developing re-opening guidance for schools and will continue to release resources as they are developed. Those SFAs that have already established re-opening plans for the fall can complete their required annual participation updates in the CNIPS now.
Source: School Year 2020–21 Annual Update—Fourth Notice – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)
By Bill Hicks
The end of the last school year was upended by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
The beginning of this school year was disrupted by the outbreak of the LNU Lightning Complex Fire, according to a report Thursday from Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teacher’s Association president Nancy Dunn in a report before the Fairfield-Suisun School Board of trustees.
Dunn reported that five district teachers lost their homes or had portions of their property damaged during the fire, which also prompted a series of evacuation orders Aug. 19 throughout Fairfield, which was the first day of school.
Source: Wildfire disrupts start of Fairfield-Suisun school year
Pursuant to the 2020 Budget Act, Section 118, in accordance with the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, funds from the Federal Trust Fund have been appropriated for allocation by the California Department of Education (CDE) to be used for increased rates for meals served during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Program operators, including school districts, county offices of education, charter schools, residential childcare institutions, and private schools, participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Seamless Summer Option (SSO), or Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) that served meals in the months of March 2020 to August 2020, inclusive, during school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for an increased state meal reimbursement, not to exceed $0.75 for breakfasts and lunches served.
Source: CARES Reimbursement Tool for March 2020 – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)
BY Kimberly K. Fu
The LNU Lightning Complex Fire was a personal tragedy for two Vacaville High School teens, as people they cared about had escaped with their lives but lost everything else.
So Zanna Rosenquist, 17, and Lauren Gammon, 16, organized a donation drive to help make the burdens of fire victims a little lighter.
“We wanted to help out the families who are stuck in hotels or wherever they’re staying,” Lauren advised. “It’s not just for people who lost their homes. It’s for everyone. We’re just wanting to give them a break.”
Source: Vaca High teens host donation drive for fire victims – The Reporter
By Richardo Cano
Kristie Summerrill immediately began texting her kindergartners’ parents to check if they were safe as the CZU Lightning Complex fires forced mass evacuations in Bonny Doon, the rural community northwest of Santa Cruz where the elementary school had just recently begun online instruction.
Many of her kindergartners’ families, some who’d lost their homes to wildfire, were sheltering at the Chaminade Resort & Spa in Santa Cruz, a mom told Summerrill. So the teacher and her husband drove their van to the hotel armed with seven bags filled with snacks, water, food, games and supplies, unsure if it would even be of any help or comfort to families without homes.
Source: Wildfires set school plans ablaze for more than 70k students | CalMatters
By Todd R. Hansen
Solano County supervisors on Tuesday handed over 1.16 acres of right of way to the state for an easement on the Interstate 80/Interstate 680/Highway 12 Interchange Project – an exchange of property that should have been done in 1967.
“This project enhances the capacity, safety and traffic operations of the interchange with each phase that gets constructed. For the latest project phase, Caltrans acquired right of way from the end of Solano County’s West Cordelia Road,” the staff report states. “In addition, Caltrans determined that there was also right of way still owned by Solano County within the Interstate 80 corridor. The property, approximately 1.159 acres of right of way, should have been transferred to the state with improvements done to the interchange in about 1967.”
Source: Solano transfers I-80 right of way to state for interchange project
By Glen Faison
Smoke from a massive wildfire that’s blanketed the area for the better part of the week prompted the Bay Area Air Quality Management District on Saturday to extend an air pollution alert through Wednesday.
The action bans burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors, across the greater Bay Area region.
Air quality is expected to be unhealthy with the heaviest pollution in the East Bay, which includes Solano County, and Santa Clara Valley, the air district reports.
Source: Air pollution warnings extend through Wednesday
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Imagine That!, a science, technology, engineering, arts and math museum for children of all ages, has turned its main exhibit area into a classroom hosting 30 kindergartners through sixth-graders.
The desks are separated by 6 feet, temperatures are checked daily and all wear a mask.
When it’s time for recess, the children are welcome to explore some of the exhibits and take a spin on The Spinner, which is comparable to having your own merry-go-round.
Source: Imagine That! program provides learning, socialization
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) has released a new tool—Guidance on Best Practices for Distance Learning Instructional Planning—to support educators that are implementing distance learning instruction.
“Distance learning will be with us in some form moving forward, even as schools may be allowed to begin reopening in various capacities. We are committed to offering real-time, actionable support to our educators as we all lean into this new reality,” Thurmond said. “Through continued investments in educator training—and increased, proactive family engagement—I am confident that our schools will reach and engage more students as we move through this challenging period together.”
The new guidance document offers suggestions in four key areas: clear definitions of instructional models and language, an overview of required daily minutes for the 2020-21 school year and considerations for instruction both with live interaction and without live interaction, research-based principles for school districts to consider as they prepare to re-open, and ideas for how educators may structure learning.
Source: New Tool to Strengthen Distance Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
BY Richard Bammer
Mike Sullivan, a former Reporter sports editor and writer who also found a calling as a longtime educator, coach and student mentor at Vacaville High School, remembered by many who knew him as selfless and having a significant impact on their lives, died Sunday with wife Kelle at his side in his Vacaville home.
He was 63 and had been in failing health for some years, his son, Buck, said.Mike Sullivan, former Vacaville Reporter Sports Editor and educator.
Born into an Air Force family, “Sully,” as he was affectionately known, graduated from Vacaville High in 1974. While in school, he played football, wrestled and competed in track and field. With the exception of a few short breaks, Sullivan largely lived the remainder of his life in Vacaville, his son said.
Source: Vaca educator, coach, student mentor, former journalist Mike ‘Sully’ Sullivan, 63, dies – The Reporter
Computer distribution days and times have been changed from what was announced on Friday. Please use the information below:
Wednesday, August 19th, 11:30 A.M. to 7:30 P.M.
Thursday, August 20th, 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.
Distribution will still happen at Dixon High School. Due to the high temperatures, devices will be handed out in the Gym to provide our staff with a safe place to work. Park on the front of campus to get closest to the entrance.
Source: Dixon Unified School District Important Notice On Computer Distribution Change To Schedule | Dixon, CA Patch
The Solano County School District announced Wednesday the following will remain closed for the rest of the week.
- Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
- Travis Unified School District
- Vacaville Unified School District
- SCOE-operated programs
This is in response to widespread evacuations, power outages and unhealthy air quality.
The districts said they will also be providing meals for students to the extent possible and will communicate with families about the availability of school meal service, but it may change throughout the week due to unforeseen circumstance. According to its press release, Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District will be providing boxes of food with several meals for the week. Families will be notified of locations.
Source: Bay Area fires: Here’s what’s closed due to unhealthy air, wildfires – ABC7 San Francisco
Cal Fire’s latest numbers on the wildfire were released on Friday morning, showing that the flames have continued to spread – but, for the first time, firefighters are reporting some containment.
The fire is now 219,067 acres with 480 structures destroyed and another 125 damaged.
Source: LNU Lightning Complex Fire Updates: Cal Fire Reports 7 Percent Containment – CBS Sacramento
By Kimberly K. Fu
A grass fire that started near Lake Berryessa Tuesday afternoon tiptoed to Pleasants Valley Road overnight, razing homes and resulting in early morning evacuations in the area of Alamo Drive and fire crews from beyond Solano battling to keep the conflagration at bay.
Around 3:30 a.m., dozens of vehicles lined Alamo Drive and filled the parking lot of the Latter-day Saints Church. The majority were area evacuees.
Many said they received an automated alert around 2:30 a.m. to leave their homes immediately and to seek shelter elsewhere.
Source: Fires north of Vacaville cause evacuations en masse – The Reporter