Local educators: Few specifics from CDE about reopening schools – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Reacting to the state Department of Education’s livestreamed discussion about safely reopening schools in the fall, Solano educators said the Thursday morning event — which included comments from state schools chief Tony Thurmond — offered few specific guidelines on how to do it.

They collectively agreed that, ultimately, the decision will be left to each of California’s 1,000 school districts.

Jared Austin, executive director and co-founder of Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, called the discussion a “missed opportunity.” He said Thurmond and Dr. Gil Chavez, of California Department of Public Health, did not offer specific guidelines for the safe reopening of schools for the state’s 6.2 million students.

Source: Coronavirus: Local educators: Few specifics from CDE about reopening schools – The Reporter

Kairos board positions available – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A “help wanted” sign is out at Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy.

The K-8 independent charter school’s board of directors, serving as the governing body for the Elm Street campus, has openings for two board positions, Jared Austin, school co-founder and executive director, wrote in an email on Wednesday.

General responsibilities for board members, who are unelected, can be found at the school’s website, www.kairospublicschools.org.

The board meets monthly to receive school reports and approve policies and procedures, Austin noted.

Source: Kairos board positions available – The Reporter

MIT Academy named one of America’s best high schools – Times-Herald

By Times Herald

For the fifth year in a row, Mare Island Technology (MIT) Academy in Vallejo has been named by U.S. News and World Report as “One of America’s Best High Schools,” according to a press release from the charter school.

The award is “based on the … principles that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators,” the school shared.

“This award specifically names MIT Academy High School, but as is often pointed out, you can’t have a great high school without a great middle school to support it. In every way, this award recognizes both the middle and high school programs and the articulated effort both schools make to support our students,” wrote Matt Smith, former superintendent/CEO. “And though we are justifiably proud of each of the awards we’ve won, this year’s is especially appropriate in light of the severe challenges posed by the national school shutdowns and the pivot to distance learning.

Source: MIT Academy named one of America’s best high schools – Times-Herald

Solano County school closures extended through May 1 – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Solano County Office of Education has advised public school districts and charter schools to continue distance learning through at least May 1.

The guidance was issued after consulting with Solano County Public Health and is in accordance with both the county’s stay-at-home order and the similar executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom, SCOE officials announced in a news release Thursday.

Previously, the superintendents of Solano County’s school districts had announced closures with tentative dates for reopening beginning in late March and then rescheduled to mid-April. However, since Newsom has called for individuals to stay home and prohibit mass gatherings of more than 10 people indefinitely, SCOE — as well as school district superintendents and charter school leaders — settled on May 1 as a tentative return date but would work with state and local health officials to determine if the date will be extended further.

Source: Coronavirus: Solano County school closures extended through May 1 – The Reporter

Vacaville boy builds LEGO figures to raise money for charity – The Reporter

By Joel Rosenbaum

One young Vacaville boy is using his time during the ongoing school closure to continue his work supporting local charities.

Cody Bassey, a 9-year-old third-grade student at ACE Charter School, is taking his love of LEGO and raising money for Pink Heals Solano by building mini LEGO figures of real people.

Pink Heals Solano is a non-profit organization that raises awareness and supportes men, women, and children suffering from cancer by visiting cancer patients around the county on a pink fire engine dubbed, “Christine.” Cody has been part of the crew, usually when there is a child who is battling the disease.

Source: Coronavirus: Vacaville boy builds LEGO figures to raise money for charity – The Reporter

Elite Public Schools extends closures due to virus-containment protocols – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

The Board of Directors at Elite Public Schools has approved keeping the school closed until April 13, two weeks past the original March 30 closure date.

The extended closure mean students will return after spring break, according to a press release. School officials say the date is tentative based on whether county, state or federal agencies provide updated guidance or directives, in which case the board will adjust the closure date accordingly.

Students will be able to continue their academic program and connect with teachers through distance learning and video conferencing.

Source: Elite Public Schools extends closures due to virus-containment protocols

Solano County Schools To Close For 2 Weeks: Coronavirus | Dixon, CA Patch

By Maggie Fusek

All public and charter schools in Solano County are closed beginning Monday because of the situation surrounding the coronavirus — COVID-19 — the Solano County Office of Education announced Friday.

“In light of the ever-changing situation with COVID-19, Solano County superintendents and charter school administrators have made the difficult decision to close schools ­­­­­­­­­for two weeks beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 through Friday, March 27, 2020,” SCOE said in statement. “Superintendents and charter school administrators will make a determination at that time about any further closures.”

Source: Solano County Schools To Close For 2 Weeks: Coronavirus | Dixon, CA Patch

For fifth time, Kairos earns a state Civic Learning Award – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

For the fifth time in as many years, Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy has earned a state-sponsored Civic Learning Award, an honor that recognizes a school’s efforts to engage students in civic learning.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond made the announcement in a press release issued Thursday, noting that the Elm Street K-8 independent charter school was one of 75 California schools acknowledged for their strong civics curriculum and service-learning projects in their communities.

Co-sponsored by Thurmond and Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the awards, now in their eighth year, are “designed to both celebrate successful efforts to engage students in civic learning and to identify successful models that can be replicated in other schools,” read the written statement.

Source: For fifth time, Kairos earns a state Civic Learning Award – The Reporter

Academic Decathlon comes to Solano College Saturday – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Approximately 300 students from 15 high schools – including Dixon, Rodriguez, Vanden, Buckingham Charter, Jesse Bethel, MIT Academy and Vallejo – will compete in the North Bay Region’s Academic Decathlon scheduled Saturday at Solano Community College.

“I am excited to see Academic Decathlon growing in our county and region. Students deserve tremendous credit and praise for their teamwork, dedication and work ethic in representing their schools at the North Bay Regional Academic Decathlon Competition,” Ken Scarberry, program director of Youth Development for the Solano County Office of Education, said in a statement.

Source: Academic Decathlon comes to Solano College Saturday

Dixon Montessori students become citizen scientists at Suisun Marsh – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Sixth-graders at Dixon Montessori Charter School (DMCS) became botanists, geologists, hydrologists and ornithologists all over the course of one morning Thursday as they did activities at the Suisun Marsh.

They were among nearly 2,000 sixth and seventh-graders to visit this month as part of the Solano Resource Conservation District’s Watershed Education Program. The youths hike through the largest brackish water marsh on the West Coast and learn about wildlife, plant life, soil and water, as well as ways to protect it from pollution. Along the way, they perform numerous activities and record data.

Source: Dixon Montessori students become citizen scientists at Suisun Marsh – The Reporter

VCUSD budget update — expected to drop under 10,000 students in two years – Times-Herald

By John Glidden

Vallejo Unified School District officials anticipate there will be less than 10,000 students attending district schools by the 2021-22 school year, continuing the trend of declining enrollment.

The Vallejo school board on Dec. 11 unanimously approved the first interim report for the district’s budget — which includes anticipated student attendance.

Adrian Vargas, the district’s chief business official, said the district expects to have about 9,892 students in two years — down at least 1,300 students from the current count of 11,259. He noted student loss to ELITE Charter School and the new Griffin Academy High School as two of the primary reasons.

Source: Vallejo district gets budget update — expected to drop under 10,000 students in two years – Times-Herald

New Charter Schools Division Director Named – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Stephanie Farland as the Director of the Charter Schools Division for the California Department of Education (CDE).

The Charter Schools Division oversees State Board of Education-approved charter schools throughout California and administers the Federal Public Charter Schools Grant Program.

Currently, Farland is the Executive Director and Founder of Collaborative Solutions for Charter Authorizers, a private consulting firm dedicated to assisting school districts and county offices of education in their work as charter school authorizers. In that position, she works on all aspects of charter authorizing and oversight to ensure that a fair process is being implemented in California.

Source: New Charter Schools Division Director Named – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)

VUSD to consider new proposal for Country High School – The Reporter

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

Rollout and Webinar Series – CA School Dashboard and System of Support (CA Dept of Education)

This letter is to notify you of the timeline for the release of preview data on the state indicators for the 2019 California School Dashboard (Dashboard) and invite you to participate in the Dashboard webinar series. During the month of November, the California Department of Education (CDE) will release the state indicator data on a rolling basis. The Dashboard public release is scheduled for the week of December 9, 2019.

To support local education agencies (LEAs) with the rollout of the state indicators, the CDE will host a webinar series. Following each webinar, the PowerPoints will be made available on the California School Dashboard and System of Support web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/cm/. Information on accessing the webinars is provided in Attachment 1 along with the dates and times.

The Dashboard preview, along with downloadable data files, will be available on password-protected web sites. The link and single password to access these sites will be sent in a separate email to Dashboard and Secure Accountability Coordinators on November 5, 2019.

Source: Rollout and Webinar Series – California School Dashboard and System of Support (CA Dept of Education)

Buckingham RoboKnights Fundraise for a Spooky Spaghetti Feed – Daily Republic

The RoboKnights of Buckingham Charter Magnet High School’s have just finished Cap City and are hosting their annual spaghetti feed.

The annual spaghetti feed will be on Saturday, October 26 from 6PM-8PM at 188 Bella Vista Road, Vacaville 95687.

“They [fabrication, coding, and electrical departments] have worked for Cap City. The Public Relations and Business Department is ready to show off at the Spaghetti Feed. We’re going to blow everyone away.” says Andrei, the business lead of robotics.

Source: Press Release: Buckingham RoboKnights Fundraise for a Spooky Spaghetti Feed

Buckingham RoboKnights Assembled for Cap City Classic – Daily Republic

Buckingham Charter Magnet High School’s RoboKnights assembled for Cap City Classic from October 19-20.

Capital City Classic is an off-season tournament for robotics teams to come and compete for a weekend. It’s a great way to start off the new year.

“We grew together as a team in the face of adversity.” says Elizabeth Deards, president of the RoboKnights.

During the off-season tournament, the RoboKnights competed with other North Bay teams. Returning members know Capital City is a great way to return to competition, and it’s a great way for RoboKnight recruits to learn what robotics is all about: having fun.

Source: Press Release: Buckingham RoboKnights Assembled for Cap City Classic

Dixon City Council reinstates upper division youth basketball programs – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

All Dixon Youth Basketball divisions will have a chance to play this season.

The Dixon City Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution allowing Divisions 3 and 4 to play at Dixon Montessori Charter School (DMCS) after the two divisions had been canceled for the year due to lack of gym space.

According to Public Works Director Joe Leach, DYB programs have been offered by the city since 2007, having been previously run by a nonprofit. The program is split into four divisions: Division 1 for first and second-graders, Division 2 for third and fourth-graders, Division 3 for fifth and sixth-graders and Division 4 for seventh and eighth-graders.

Source: Dixon City Council reinstates upper division youth basketball programs – The Reporter

Dixon City Council to vote on reinstatement of basketball program – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Just when it was looking like Dixon youth basketball players would have to go outside the city to participate in recreational action this fall, Dixon Montessori Charter School (DMCS) has stepped in with an agreement to allow playing hoops on its campus.

The City Council provide direction to staff regarding this potential reinstatement at its Tuesday meeting, freeing the way for fifth through eighth-graders to dribble and drive.

For the past 12 years, the city has coordinated the Dixon Youth Basketball (DYB) program to allow Dixon’s youth to participate in a non-competitive recreational sport, according to a staff report by Public Works Director Joe Leach, Recreation Manager Jean Houseman and Recreation Supervisor Austin George. The program is split into four divisions: Division 1 for for first and second-graders, Division 2 for third and fourth-graders, Division 3 for fifth and sixth-graders and Division 4 for seventh and eighth-graders.

Source: Dixon City Council to vote on reinstatement of upper youth basketball program – The Reporter

Charter schools rally, march for Global Climate Action Day – Times-Herald

By Richard Freedman

While a 16-year-old Swedish girl chastised politicians on Capitol Hill this week, sister charter schools in Vallejo held a Global Climate Action Rally Day of their own.

Activist Greta Thunberg enlightened the suits in Washington, D.C., hoisting a sign in Swedish “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” (“School Strike for Climate”).

“I don’t want to be heard all the time, but if there is anything I can do to improve the situation then I think it’s a very small price to pay,” Thunberg told CNN.

Young people took to the streets in protest worldwide, including thousands in New York City.

Source: Charter schools rally, march for Global Climate Action Day – Times-Herald

California’s charter schools, unions call a truce in an epic battle – Times-Herald

By Ricardo Cano/Cal Matters

Gov. Gavin Newsom brokered an agreement Wednesday on a high-profile charter-school regulation proposal at the center of this year’s contentious battle between teachers unions and charter advocates, removing a key hurdle for its passage this session.

The compromise on Assembly Bill 1505 comes after months of lobbying by the state’s two most influential education interest groups and several impassioned hearings over sweeping proposed changes to how the publicly funded, independently managed schools operate in California.

Initiated in the early 1990s as a way to bring innovation into California’s K-12 school system, charter schools have sharply grown over the years, primarily in the state’s urban school systems, and have become a flashpoint for unions, who contend they draw enrollment away from traditional public schools, depriving them of critical funding and resources.

Source: California’s charter schools, unions call a truce in an epic battle – Times-Herald