Buckingham grads march to their futures – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Newly-minted Buckingham Collegiate Charter Academy graduate Jackson Andrews expressed candidly Friday how many of his classmates felt after enduring the 2020-21 academic year, more than nine months amid a pandemic, at the Vacaville high school.

“It was a pain in the butt, but I made it through,” said Andrews, 17, one of 97 seniors who picked up their diplomas Friday morning during commencement at Tom Zunino Stadium on the Vacaville High School campus on West Monte Vista Avenue.

After all, as Vacaville Unified Superintendent Jane Shamieh noted in her remarks spoken on a temporary stage on the field, the school’s class of 2021 “missed sports, prom, choir concerts, robotics and so much more …” due to public health restrictions.

Source: Buckingham grads march to their futures – The Reporter

Buckingham honors graduates, notes their ‘zest for life’ – Daily Republic

By Matt Miller

It was the 26th senior class but the first under the rebranded name, Buckingham Collegiate Charter Academy, honored Thursday under sunny morning skies at Tom Zunino Stadium.

The charter school also dedicated a new campus this year, now located at 100 McClellan St. Many of the 97 graduates faced hybrid learning like many others in the Vacaville School District, but these Knights were able to enjoy the new grounds in the early spring.

“They were very limited in their extracurricular activities, but we were so glad to be able to have a graduation ceremony and to open our new campus,” new Principal Samantha Working said of the job for the past three months. “We had hybrid learning but most came back by March.”

Source: Buckingham honors graduates, notes their ‘zest for life’

Buckingham 2020 class finally gets in-person graduation – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

As of Friday, graduation season is now in full swing in Vacaville.

However, the season did not start with the Class of 2021 — which will have in-person ceremonies throughout next week — but rather the Class of 2020, which had to forego traditional ceremonies in favor of them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, they will have their due, starting with Buckingham Collegiate Charter Academy, whose 2020 seniors graduated at Vacaville High School’s Tom Zunino Stadium Friday evening.

The last year has been a tumultuous one for Buckingham, which saw a name change — from Buckingham Charter Magnet High School, the continuation of distance learning and a relocation to a bigger space in the former Country High School campus on McClellan Street. However, the familiar sight of maroon caps and gowns filled the stadium as Buckingham began its return to normalcy.

Source: Buckingham 2020 class finally gets in-person graduation – The Reporter

Buckingham students prove selves as vocabulary masters – Daily Republic

Students from Buckingham Charter High School have distinguished themselves across the state and nation as wordsmiths of great renown.

A total of 1.3 million students across North America competed for the past seven months on behalf of their schools to master the most words in Vocabulary.com’s seventh annual Vocabulary Bowl, the company said in a press release.

Students answered 450 million questions, mastered a collective total of 36.6 million words and expanded their lexicons in the classroom and at home, according to the press release.

Source: Buckingham students prove selves as vocabulary masters

ELITE Public Charter to feature sports in 2021-22 – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

Since Hogan High School closed its doors in 2010, the city of Vallejo has featured four high schools with sports competition — Vallejo, Jesse Bethel, St. Patrick-St. Vincent and North Hills Christian.

A fifth — ELITE Public Charter School — will give local athletes another option starting in the fall.

The Whitney Avenue campus featured classes for the first time in 2020-21. ELITE has about 500 students.

The Eagles will feature competition in six sports — football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and track and field. ELITE will be an independent program in the Sac-Joaquin Section, meaning the school will not be part of any conference.

Source: ELITE Public Charter to feature sports in 2021-22 – Times-Herald

Inaugural event in Vacaville to celebrate special needs – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Since its inception last year, Vacaville People’s Forum has sought to highlight the various people who make up Vacaville and give everybody a voice.

This Saturday, the organization will host an event to highlight the differently abled community. In honor of Special Needs Awareness Month, Vacaville People’s Forum will be hosting a celebration in Andrews Park titled “Be You.”

The event will feature a parade, music, speeches by local dignitaries and resources to connect with different agencies.

Source: Inaugural event in Vacaville to celebrate special needs – The Reporter

Kairos Public Schools honored for civic education – The Reporter

By Joel Rosenbaum

Roman Conner Owens, 13, a seventh-grader at Kairos Public Schools listens to California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye address him and his classmates and teachers Wednesday as they took part in a virtual awards ceremony honoring the school’s accomplishments in civic education. According to a press release, Kairos was honored with a Civic Learning Award of Distinction by a panel of judges and educators selected by the Chief Justice’s Power of DemocracySteering Committee and is co-sponsored by Cantil-Sakauye and California State Superintendent of Schools Tony Thurmond who also participated in the award presentation.

Source: Kairos Public Schools honored for civic education – The Reporter

Kairos receives 5th state honor for civic education – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

From 2017 to 2020, Kairos Public Schools was the recipient of a Civic Learning Award of Merit for its approaches in teaching civic education.

This year, Kairos broke that streak — by becoming one of three schools in California to receive the Civic Learning Award’s higher Distinction honor. Kairos joins Royal High School in Simi Valley and Villa Park Elementary School in Orange County, all of which were chosen by a panel of judges and educators chosen by California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye’s Power of Democracy Steering Committee, which seeks to further California students’ understanding of the judicial branch.

Source: Kairos receives 5th state honor for civic education – The Reporter

Kairos Public Schools earns Civic Learning Award of Distinction – Daily Republic

Kairos Public Schools was awarded a Civic Learning Award of Distinction by a panel of judges and educators selected by the Chief Justice’s Power of Democracy Steering Committee, both the school and state’s courts announced Tuesday in separate press releases.

Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, head of the state’s judicial branch, co-sponsors the awards with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond to honor outstanding achievements in civics education.

Kairos Public Schools previously earned a lesser Civic Learning Award of Merit for the past four years.

Source: Kairos Public Schools earns Civic Learning Award of Distinction

Bay Area high schools get OK for in-person graduation ceremonies | KRON4

By Tristi Rodriguez

A handful of high schools in the Bay Area have announced they will be holding in-person graduation ceremonies this summer.

The Vacaville Unified School District got the O.K. from Solano Public Health and the Vacaville Unified School District Governing Board to host in-person commencement celebrations in June for the graduating classes of both 2020 and 2021.

Source: Bay Area high schools get OK for in-person graduation ceremonies | KRON4

Kairos holds assembly to honor retiring police chief – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

A major focus of Kairos Public Schools’ curriculum is the concept of community and the people who comprise it.

One prominent figure in the Vacaville community for the last three decades has been Police Chief John Carli, who will be retiring from the department in April after 32 years of service, including the last seven as chief. To honor Carli’s service and longtime support of Kairos, students and staff held a surprise assembly for the chief Tuesday.

Jared Austin, executive director of Kairos, said he told Carli to come to the campus so students could say “Thank you.” What he didn’t tell him was that Carli would be greeted with cheers by most of the students, be presented with gifts and receive a video message from his granddaughter, a first-grader at Kairos.

Source: Kairos holds assembly to honor retiring police chief – The Reporter

Vacaville public charter school shows the way during pandemic – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

Gov. Gavin Newsom flipped the switch Thursday on a Safe Schools for All website, and backed his initiative with a $90 billion budget proposal.

“I am of the firm belief that we can safely get back our children, youngest children, get them back safely into schools in small cohorts,” Newsom said.

“We can get this done. We must get it done,” he said.

Jared Austin agrees with the governor, but said he thinks students should have been back in the classrooms months ago.

Source: Vacaville public charter school shows the way during pandemic

Kairos director concerned about state school reopening plan – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

The executive director of Kairos Public Schools is not too happy about a proposal by Gov. Gavin Newsom to provide financial incentives to school districts that adopt safety and reopening plans.

In a news release, Jared Austin felt the plan would jeopardize his schools’ ability to continue teaching students in person, which it has been doing since Oct. 13 after applying for a state elementary school waiver and receiving guidance from Solano County Public Health.

“Although we appreciate the governor focusing on the safety of our students and staff, this new plan really concerns me,” he said.

Source: Kairos director concerned about state school reopening plan – The Reporter

Kairos eighth-graders witness a moment in history – The Reporter

By Joel Rosenbaum

As he stood on the western steps of the United States Capitol with the eyes of the world on him, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. spoke of uniting the country.

Locally, the eighth-grade students of Jason Railing’s United States History class at ​Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy watched in rapt attention as the newly sworn-in president delivered his inauguration address Wednesday morning proclaiming that “democracy has prevailed.”

What Railing wanted his students to take away from the inauguration and the speech was the message of unity.

Source: Kairos eighth-graders witness a moment in history – The Reporter

Coronavirus: Kairos becomes clinical testing lab – The Reporter

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

Mini Grants to Address Equity Now Available – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

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)

Kairos returns for in-person learning – The Reporter

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

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