By Meghan Bobrowsky, CalMatters
Fifteen years ago, Kenny Butler was at a low point. He had just been sentenced to life in prison.
Now Butler, 47, is on track to earn his bachelor’s degree through a new program at Pitzer College, a small private liberal arts school in Southern California.
The program, which began last December and which the school says is the first of its kind in the nation, is based on Inside Out curriculum — a type of teaching that brings college students and professors into prisons to learn alongside incarcerated students. Pitzer, a selective school that accepts fewer than 20% of applicants, started the Inside Out program with the goal of helping incarcerated students better engage with coursework and make connections with the outside world — a key factor in reintegrating back into society.
Source: New program allows incarcerated students to get bachelor’s degrees alongside peers on the outside – The Vacaville Reporter
By Susan Hiland
The stands at Schaefer Stadium were full of proud parents, guardians and friends watching the Class of 2021 from Sem Yeto High School hit a huge milestone Wednesday – graduation.
About 200 seniors clad in navy blue gowns eagerly waited to receive their diplomas.
Superintendent Kris Cory addressed the audience by acknowledging what a tough year it has been, but the seniors were strong in the face of adversity.
“You have accomplished so much and seeing you all in your gowns is magical,” she said. “Getting this diploma will open doors just like magic.”
Source: Sem Yeto sends graduates off to a brighter future
By Matt Miller
Going to school during a pandemic is challenging enough. Going to school, working and raising children takes another level of dedication.
Jessica Calderon was one of the 118 graduates Tuesday who earned their high school diploma or high school equivalency with the Fairfield-Suisun Adult School.
Calderon completed her coursework while holding a job and learning to take care of her children, one of which was recently diagnosed with autism.
Source: Large Adult School class overcomes obstacles on path to diploma, certificates
By Todd R. Hansen
One speaker evoked the memory of her friend Daniel Hughes.
Another called on her classmates and generation to speak out for the Palestinian children of Gaza, who she said are far less worried about high school graduation as they are about surviving the bombs and bullets of the ever-tumultuous Hamas-Israel conflict.
“I pray for Palestinians, and I pray for Gaza and that place,” said Maiya Beltran, a 2020 graduate of the Travis Education Center, who said her generation has a responsibility to speak out for those who have no voice of their own.
Source: Graduates of 2021 – and 2020 – bid farewell, extend gratitude to TEC
By Todd R. Hansen
Allyson Rude-Azevedo emceed her eighth Travis Education Center commencement ceremony Friday – her first since 2019.
That is why graduates from the Class of 2020 were invited to participate along with the Class of 2021.
“For kids who struggle in school, graduation is very important,” Rude-Azevedo said in an interview prior to the start of the ceremony on the Vanden High football field. “So this is a real big deal for the kids and their families.”
Source: Outgoing TEC principal calls pandemic grads special
By Kris Corey
During this very different 2020-2021 school year, Sem Yeto students are still finding ways to be successful. Sem Yeto staff are finding creative ways to recognize their students’ efforts.
When the pandemic hit, Sem Yeto staff did not want to lose sight of the accomplishments of their students. A virtual celebration was developed as an alternative to an in-person recognition ceremony. This recognition serves as a conduit for Sem Yeto staff and families to come together to support, recognize, and appreciate the quarterly accomplishments of Sem Yeto students.
Source: Good News: Sem Yeto Recognizes Student Accomplishments During Pandemic
By Peter Fournier
That was the theme of Thursday morning’s drive-thru diploma ceremony for graduates of Sem Yeto High School, located at the Fairfield High School campus.
An expected 61 graduates rolled through the parking lot to pick up their diplomas and take the next step in their lives after moving on from the continuation high school.
Principal James Hightower commended the staff for putting together the drive-thru ceremony, which consisted of a location for students to get their actual diploma, and then a stop for graduates to get a picture in their caps and gowns.
Source: Persistence pays off at diploma event for Sem Yeto grads
By Susan Hansen
Sem Yeto Satellite graduates only needed to wait a little while for their senior year to be completed Thursday.
About 130 students came to the Armijo High School campus and waited in cars with parents and siblings to receive the final paper – the diploma for all of their hard work.
Mason Ferrer, 18, felt great about graduation day.
“I’m not sure about next year,” he said. “But I’m working at Walmart at the moment.”
Source: Sem Yeto Satellite graduation ushers seniors into new lives
By Nick Sestanovich
Golden Hills was alive Thursday with the sound of music: upbeat dance music intended to pump up graduates as they drove through to pick up their diplomas.
Like all schools throughout the county, Golden Hills Community School’s Fairfield campus has been closed since mid-March to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Thursday was a chance for students to not only pick up their diplomas but also see their former teachers again for the school’s first graduation parade.
Seniors drove up, received their diplomas from Principal Chris Morris; received cheers from teachers, staff, administrators and family members from the sidelines; and even got out of their cars to have their pictures taken in front of a backdrop.
Source: Golden Hills seniors parade on to next chapter – The Reporter
By Peter Fournier
Golden Hills Community School’s graduating seniors from across the county came to the school Thursday in Fairfield to pick up their high school diplomas and take the next step in their lives.
The school’s 12 graduates participated in a drive-thru ceremony at the Solano County Office of Education’s campus, which serves seventh to 12th grades. Staff cheered them on and congratulated them as they cruised by in vehicles and also took part in a cap-and-gown photo shoot.
School director Amy Chavez said staff knew graduation would be different when Covid-19 forced schools to close in March.
Source: Golden Hills sees dozen grads pick up diplomas
By Maggie Fusek
More than 200 high school students from Solano and Napa counties took a trades tour last week during which they visited local training centers for trade workers in Napa, Fairfield, Benicia and Vacaville. The tour has taken place for the last several years and is sponsored by Napa-Solano Central Labor Council, Solano County Office of Education (SCOE), North Bay Apprenticeship Coordinators Association, and Napa-Solano Building Trades.
During this year’s tour, which took place from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, the high-schoolers received information on the opportunities a union construction career can offer.
Source: 200 Students Take Part In Napa-Solano Trades Tour | Napa Valley, CA Patch
By Todd R. Hansen
More than 200 students got a firsthand look Thursday at what work in the trades could mean for their futures.
The groups from Solano and Napa counties took a tour of training centers that included sheet metal workers in Fairfield, plumbers and steamfitters in Vacaville, iron workers in Benicia and electrical workers in Napa.
The students also visited carpenter trade centers in Fairfield and Napa.
The tour is an annual event sponsored by the Napa-Solano Central Labor Council, the North Bay Apprenticeship Coordinators Association, the Napa-Solano Building Trades and the Solano County Office of Education.
Source: Solano, Napa students see futures in the trades
By Nick Sestanovich
Vacaville Unified School District has decided not to move forward with a plan to create two smaller credit recovery campuses at the Will C. Wood and Vacaville high school campuses.
Instead, the school board will be considering a new proposal to move Country High School to the Buckingham Charter Magnet High School campus, move Buckingham to the current Country High campus and merge Country High with the Ernest Kimme Charter Academy for Independent Learning, which will move into the building across the way, the district announced in a Facebook post.
The goal is for both programs to work together to bring more resources to students.
In September, the district announced that it was considering establishing smaller continuation campuses on the general education high school campuses for Country High students to take classes in self-contained classrooms. However, Country High students, parents and staff expressed concerns about this proposal — namely that Country High students benefited from being in a smaller campus away from the larger comprehensive campuses — at the Sept. 28 school board meeting and on social media.
Source: VUSD to consider new proposal for Country High School – The Reporter
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano County Office of Education this week announced the winners of the 2019 Solano Countywide Attendance Awareness Poster Contest, according to a press release.
September was Attendance Awareness Month and SCOE hosted the contest to provide school districts the opportunity to engage students in conversations about the critical role that school attendance has on student achievement. 72 students from school districts across Solano County submitted posters for consideration in the contest.
There were three categories in the contest with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category. These students will be recognized at their respective district school board meetings.
Source: Attendance Awareness poster winners announced
By Nick Sestanovich
A discussion on a proposal to move Country High School’s operations to the comprehensive high school campuses may not have been on the agenda for Thursday’s school board meeting, as it was previously scheduled, but parents, teachers and students still took time to express their concerns.
On Sept. 16, Vacaville Unified School District Superintendent Jane Shamieh issued a letter to families announcing that the district was considering establishing two smaller continuation school campuses on the Vacaville and Will C. Wood high school campuses. Country High students would be assigned to a campus based on their area of residence and take classes in self-contained classrooms.
The district’s goals were to provide easier access to Career Technical Education courses for Country High students, allow CHS students to participate in lunch and extracurricular activities with their comprehensive high school peers and make it easier for them to transition back to their home campus if they finish up their credits.
Source: Country High School community urges school board to not move campus operations – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
Major changes could be coming to Country High School, Vacaville Unified School District’s continuation school, in the 2020-21 school year. The VUSD Governing Board will be discussing a proposal to establish two smaller continuation campuses on the Vacaville and Will C. Wood High School properties at its Sept. 26 meeting.
According to a letter to families sent by Superintendent Jane Shamieh, major goals of the proposed change include providing Country High students with access to Career Technical Education (CTE) courses and making it easier for students who have caught up on their Country High credits transition back to their home school to finish the credits needed to graduate.
The core classes would be taught in self-contained classrooms on the comprehensive school sites by Country High staff. Students would be placed on campuses determined by their residence, Shamieh wrote.
Source: School board to discuss changes to Country High School – The Reporter
By Todd R. Hansen
With blue robes and blue mortarboards – some wearing leis, and at least one weighed down with an assortment of neck ware – the graduates of the Travis Education Center on Friday afternoon were greeted by a packed house with cheers and loud hoots as they gamboled down the center aisles of the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre.
Sixty-one graduates – most from TEC, but some from the Community Day School and others from the Independent Studies program – assembled on the theater stage. Thirteen of the students were juniors graduating a full year early. Others actually need to finish their studies over the summer.
Source: Slow journey of TEC grads has not yet stopped
By Daily Republic Staff
Solano Community College will launch its Students Overcoming Adversity and Recidivism program with an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Vallejo Center, according to a press release.
The program is designed to support formerly incarcerated students as they transform their lives through education.
“We believe no student should be left behind, regardless of what they’ve experienced and challenges they’ve faced,” Superintendent-President Celia Esposito-Noy said in a press release.
Source: Solano College to launch SOAR program
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today congratulated Greg Barragan of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools for being named the 2019 Juvenile Court, Community, and Alternative Schools Administrators of California (JCCASAC) Teacher of the Year.
Barragan or Mr. B as his students call him, started as a Career Technical Instructor at the Fresno County Court School in 2015 and launched the school’s welding program. His instruction and expertise has enabled countless students to earn welding certifications and embark on the pathway to solid careers.
Source: 2019 Juvenile Court Teacher of the Year Named – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Vallejo Times Herald
Parents, guardians, and students are invited to attend the Solano County Office of Education’s Workforce Development Department’s 24 annual Transition Information Fair on March 20.
“If you have a student enrolled in a middle school, high school, or an adult/transition program who has a disability and/or is in a special education program, it is time to discover the possibilities for their future,” according to a press release from the county’s office of education.
Over 40 agencies from Solano County and surrounding areas will have representatives available to offer guidance and information about their services as attendees will receive valuable information about various programs and agencies in th community that can assist with higher education, training, employment, adult day programs, and independent living, officials said.
Source: Solano County office of education hosting transition fair on March 20 – Times-Herald