By Nick Sestanovich
Kairos Public Schools no longer has to wait days for a staff member to test negative for COVID-19 to return to campus. Through the acquisition of a rapid testing kit, all of that can be done in a matter of minutes.
On Dec. 15, Kairos received certification from the California Department of Public Health to be designated as a licensed clinical laboratory, allowing staff to receive a test and get results within 15 minutes. Jared Austin, executive director of Kairos, said that one of the challenges since reopening has been staff taking periods of time off as they await results. Currently, if a staff member is exhibiting symptoms, they must stay home until they receive a negative result or quarantine for 10 days. While no staff member has tested positive yet, he said that prolonged absences would create operational challenges.
Source: Coronavirus: Kairos becomes clinical testing lab – The Reporter
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that California school districts and charter schools can now begin applying for mini grants to address equity and opportunity gaps in student learning.
Announced earlier this month as part of its ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic’s continued impact on students, the California Department of Education (CDE) will award grants of up to $20,000 each to schools, districts, and charter schools that can demonstrate how they will address equity and opportunity gaps by utilizing the funds to target educators’ or students’ needs in distance learning, in-person instruction, or hybrid models.
The application process and criteria were emailed to all county and district superintendents and charter school administrators in California earlier today, and the deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Friday, January 8, 2021. The grants have been funded through a $200,000 contribution from the Stuart Foundation External link opens in new window or tab..
Source: Mini Grants to Address Equity Now Available – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Nick Sestanovich
After seven whole months of students learning from home, the Kairos Public Schools Vacaville Academy was once again bustling with students, albeit with social distancing protocols in place.
Kairos resumed in-person classes Tuesday for students who wished to return, which amounted to about 78 percent of them. Despite the fact that it was 10 weeks into the school year on a brisk October morning, there was definitely the feeling of a back-to-school day, complete with Kairos’ middle school ambassadors welcoming back the younger students with signs.
There were also indicators that this year on campus would begin differently than previous years, such as barriers at the desks, shorter recesses and a socially distanced physical education class where students did their stretches while spaced 6 feet apart.
Source: Coronavirus: Kairos returns for in-person learning – 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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)
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 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
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