By Richard Bammer
School begins anew for most Solano County students in less than five weeks, but who wants to remind them, as their summertime is like the Beach Boys’ tune “Fun, Fun, Fun”?
But for local foster kids, going back to school often brings concern about fitting in and keeping up academically.
Having the necessary school supplies can help ease their worry and allow them to focus on learning, said Sleep Train corporate leaders, who have begun a school-supplies drive. They said giving is easy, and Vacaville has two locations.
Purchase a few of the most-needed items, like new backpacks, three-ring binders and multi-subject notebooks. Drop them off at any Sleep Train store, and encourage friends and family to do the same.
Source: Sleep Train amid school-supplies drive for area foster youth
By Richard Bammer
Can you help a backpack campaign for homeless and foster youth called Stuff the Bus?
During the past year, Solano County Office of Education (SCOE) officials identified nearly 1,500 homeless students and nearly 500 foster youths.
As defined under a federal law, the McKinney-Vento Act, a homeless youth may be unaccompanied and “couch-surfing” from home to home, living on the streets, in shelters, or staying temporarily with family or friends due to a loss of housing or financial problems.
Foster youth — that is, any child who has been removed from the custody of a parent or parents or a guardian or guardians by Juvenile Court — may live with a relative, in a foster home or in a group home.
Source: Can you help Stuff the Bus? The Reporter
By Alyson Klein
The Every Student Succeeds Act wasn’t just about accountability, testing, and standards. It also made some big changes for a long overlooked group of students: those in foster care.
We’ve already told you that the law calls for states to break out student-outcome data (i.e. test scores and graduation rates) for foster care students. That’s a big deal.
But it also seeks to help keep foster care students in their “school of origin” if the district and child welfare agencies think it will benefit the student.
The rationale is basically this: Foster care students are coping with a lot very significant change and turmoil, so f it would help them out academically—not to mention economically and socially—to have some stability in their school situation, they should get it.
Source: How Does the Every Student Succeeds Act Handle Foster Children? – Politics K-12 – Education Week
Genentech’s Vacaville and Dixon facilities announced last week that they are providing a $100,000 grant to the Explorit Science Center to support the center’s mission to ignite and foster curiosity about science and nature through hands-on exploration.
Specifically, the grant would support the following initiatives:
• “Community Science Project,” which partners with middle schools and elementary schools in Solano and Yolo counties to encourage students in science discovery through a variety of topics. The content is integrated into teachers’ on-going curriculum and aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards.
via: The Reporter
It’s not too late to sign up for Solano Conference 2016, “Catch a Wave,” set for today through Sunday at Courtyard Marriott, 1350 Holiday Lane, Fairfield.
The 20th annual event, aka the Solano College Foster Kinship Care Education Program Annual Training Conference, offers something for everyone.
From human trafficking to trauma-informed caregiving, from learning how to positively discipline youth to better communication with them, and from youth advocacy and empowerment to navigating the child welfare system, a variety of topics are touched on, organizers said.
Source: Sign-ups for Solano College Foster Kinship Care Education Program conference still possible
By Daily Republic Staff
Heart 2 Heart, an organization that provides services to emancipated foster youth, is the recipient of a bunco fundraiser Feb. 13.
The event will take place at the Solano Community College cafeteria, 4000 Suisun Valley Road.
Doors open at 1 p.m. Play is from 2 to 5 p.m. The event is being hosted by the college’s Foster Youth Success Initiative.
via Bunco fundraiser to benefit foster youth agency.
By Susan Frey
The U.S. Congress may soon be following California’s lead in requiring states to provide data on the academic progress of all homeless and foster youth and provide additional resources to those students.
A bill amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to include homeless and foster youth as two new subgroups of students has passed the U.S. Senate, and two similar bills are being considered by the House of Representatives. Under the current version of the ESEA, known as No Child Left Behind, student subgroups are based on race and ethnicity, English learner status and disability.
“Too many students in our classrooms are worried about where they will sleep that night, where their next meal will come from, or who they can turn to if they need help,” said Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., who introduced a homeless and foster youth bill in the House with Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa.
via States may soon have to report on progress of homeless, foster youth | EdSource.
During the last school year, Solano County schools have identified nearly 2,000 homeless students and nearly 500 foster students, county officials said and now a group of agencies is teaming up to help them with school supplies.
Homeless youth may be unaccompanied and couch surfing from home-to-home, living on the streets, in shelters, or staying temporarily with family or friends due to a loss of housing or financial problems. Foster youth may reside with a relative, in a foster home or in a group home.
To assist the foster and homeless youth of Solano County, the Solano County Office of Education, Educational Partnership Foundation of Solano, Sutter Medical Group, Sutter Solano Medical Center and Wednesday Club of Suisun are supporting the regional Stuff the Bus program.
via Solano agencies team up to help homeless students.
By Ann Fogarty
Solano Community College student Breanna Rodriguez is, by any standards, a parent’s dream.
Ambitious, disciplined and focused on her future, the attractive 20-year-old exudes a sense of poise and confidence that belies her years. You could easily imagine her to be supported by a loving family that offers all the comfort and stability she needs to realize her substantial dreams.
But you would be wrong.
Rodriguez was born prematurely, addicted to the methamphetamines her mother could not seem to get enough of, even while pregnant. Never knowing who her father was, she endured an unpredictable and dangerous life with her mother and older brother before being completely abandoned at a neighbor’s house when she was just 13.
via New Solano Community college program gives students a hand up.
By Susan Frey
A review of California district plans for improving school climate shows that few districts have identified specific goals to improve attendance and reduce suspensions and expulsions of foster students.
Public Counsel, a public interest law firm based in Los Angeles, reviewed the Local Control and Accountability Plans of the 64 districts in the state with at least 150 foster students. The plans are supposed to describe goals and actions the district will take to improve in eight priority areas, including school climate, with specific goals and actions for three subgroups of students – low-income students, English learners and foster youth.
The 64 districts include 55 percent of the state’s foster students, said Laura Faer, a co-author of the report, Fostering Education Success, released Wednesday.
via Report calls for districts to create specific goals for foster youth | EdSource#.VOYYJmctHGg#.VOYYJmctHGg.
By Kevin W. Green
Solano County is moving ahead to participate in the Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Option Program, which provides county agencies with state funds for foster children who live with relatives.
“It really makes the field balanced because the federal caseloads receive a foster care rate which is much higher than those when we place with relative care providers,” said Aaron Crutison, deputy director of health and social services child welfare services.
Crutison made his presentation before the Board of Supervisors, prior to the board’s unanimous vote Tuesday for the county to opt into the state-funded program.
via Solano opts for state program for foster children who live with relatives Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
A group of Solano Community College students who happen to also be emancipated foster youth went the extra mile to help their peers with a leg up toward their futures by becoming involved in Senate Bill 1023.
The recent passage of SB 1023 gives additional support to California foster youth who are bound for community college by including them in the state-funded, eligibility-based Extended Opportunity Program and Services, or EOPS, which is a statewide community college program that provides financially and educationally disadvantaged students with support that includes counseling, financial assistance, referrals and assistance toward textbooks.
via Solano College students reach out to help peers Daily Republic.
Vacaville Reporter Posted:
In the course of the past school year, Solano County schools have identified more than 1,400 homeless students in the community, according to Patsy Van Ouwerkerk, chief executive officer of Travis Credit Union.
“Due to the loss of housing and financial problems, these young people may be living on the streets, in shelters, or staying temporarily with family or friends,” she said.
To assist the homeless youth of Solano County, Travis Credit Union has partnered with the Solano County Office of Education, the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, and Educational Partnership of Solano in support of the regional Stuff the Bus Campaign. Donations will help stuff the bus with school supplies to benefit Solano County’s homeless children as they prepare for the coming school year.
via Program collects needed school items for homeless students – The Reporter.
By Susan Frey
Foster youth perform worse in school depending on where they are placed, such as group homes, and how long they stay there, according to a new report that reveals the impact of living conditions and other factors on the academic achievement of foster children.
The Invisible Achievement Gap, Part 2 follows an earlier report that detailed the dismal academic achievement of California’s 43,000 school-aged foster youth.
In the latest report, the researchers found that older foster students – particularly those who live in group homes or have experienced three or more foster placements in one school year – have the lowest academic achievement of all foster youth.
via Where foster kids live affects school performance, report says | EdSource Today.
By Susan Frey
Under the new school finance system, the state will soon be sending districts lists of their foster students so schools can direct more resources to them. Although the students will benefit, they fear their personal lives may be widely exposed and they may be stigmatized if educators don’t handle the information sensitively.
“Foster kids are very nervous about this,” said Michael Paynter, the Foster Youth Services liaison for the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. “They don’t want to be called out in public or identified in a way where they aren’t choosing the moment. We need some sensitivity training around the release of these lists.”
via Sensitivity training for educators on foster youth issues needed, advocates say | EdSource Today.
By Susan Frey
As districts set their goals for the next school year and allocate funding under the new California school finance system, they have to consider for the first time a small, highly at-risk subset of students: youth in foster care.
Under the new Local Control Funding Formula, districts must develop Local Control and Accountability (LCAP) plans, and they must give particular consideration to the needs of English learners, students from low-income families, and students in foster care.
Districts are used to considering the challenges faced by low-income students and English learners, said Teri Burns, senior director of policy and programs for the California School Boards Association. But “the area of foster youth is a new one for most districts,” she said. “It’s not one where districts have taken real direct action in the past.”
via Districts develop goals for foster youth | EdSource Today.
By Kathryn Baron
It’s well known that foster youth change schools more frequently than other students, but a new study using pioneering data analysis shows foster youth are more than twice as likely to switch schools as their classmates.
Researchers at UC Berkeley’s Center for Social Services Research and at the Institute for Evidence-Based Change, a nonprofit based in Encinitas, found that about 95 percent of foster youth changed schools the first year they were placed in care compared to 37 percent to 38 percent of students in a comparison group.
via Foster youth switch schools at huge rate | EdSource Today.
By Susan Winlow
FAIRFIELD — Tanya Ortega just graduated from high school and is beginning college in the fall.
She is also working.
As a foster youth, the 18-year-old has bucked the statistics that show fewer than 60 percent of foster youths graduate from high school and fewer than 5 percent finish college. Fewer than 50 percent are employed.
via Foster youth team advocates for others in care Daily Republic.
By Kathryn Baron
Children’s advocates are welcoming a new report showing a sharp drop in the number of foster youth in California, but also caution that less isn’t necessarily a sign of improvement. This is especially the case in education, where most schools still have not figured out how to help foster youth succeed academically.
“The truth is that schools and school districts have not historically been good at educating foster youth,” said Jesse Hahnel, founder and director of FosterEd, a project of the National Center for Youth Law. Most school districts don’t have the expertise to meet the population’s unique needs, he said.
via Despite drop in number of foster youth, significant educational obstacles remain | EdSource Today.
By Susan Frey
Among the winners and losers under California’s new budget, one student group stands out as a big winner: the state’s 42,000 school-age foster children. Often neglected by their schools as well as their families, foster youth can no longer be ignored.
Schools, districts and county offices will be held accountable for the academic progress of their foster youth as a separate subgroup under the state’s Academic Performance Index. The API measures the performance of a school’s students as a whole, but also tracks the performance of separate subgroups of traditionally low-achieving students; current subgroups are based on ethnicity and family income, and also include disabled students and English learners.
Foster youth win big in California’s new budget | EdSource Today.