By Matt Sieger
Physical activity seems to help the brain work more efficiently and effectively. So the brains of students in the Vacaville and Travis Unified School Districts must be in high gear, courtesy of a rigorous yet fun dose of physical education students are receiving via distance learning.
With no in-school classes, students are getting all their instruction online, including physical education, which research has shown can boost other forms of learning.
Jensen West of Vanden High School, Nick Voight of Will C. Wood and Jacob Wright of Vaca Peña Middle School are all passionate teachers of physical education. Their methods of P.E. instruction may vary, but the benefits reaped by the students are the same.
Source: Students reaping benefits of P.E. distance learning – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
The athlete oath for the Special Olympics is “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
”That motto was definitely reflected in Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s annual Special Olympics soccer event at Fairfield High School’s Schaefer Stadium. The event was less about competition than it was about providing students with special needs a chance to have fun and strive for successful athleticism in a supportive environment, although the competitive aspect was certainly there.
Approximately, 400 students from nine elementary schools in the district turned out to participate in the fifth annual event, which was the first unified sports event held after FSUSD became a part of the Special Olympics Northern California Schools Partnership Program in 2015.
Source: Students get a kick out of soccer at Fairfield Special Olympics event – The Reporter
By Bill Hicks
Schoolchildren from across Fairfield and Suisun were running throughout Laurel Creek Park, Wednesday, which is exactly what the namesake of the annual Doug Butt Run would have wanted.
In a 2009 Daily Republic article about the former Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District physical education teacher’s death, Butt was described as a “titan on the fitness scene in Fairfield.”
But it was this run, the former FSUSD elementary cross country meet, which now bears Doug Butt’s name that his two passions are combined – his love of fitness and his desire to share that love with the schoolchildren he taught for so many years.
Source: Youth runners push themselves in annual Doug Butt Run
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced additional honors for 22 California Distinguished middle schools and high schools selected as having an Exemplary Program in Arts Education, Career Technical Education, or Physical Activity and Nutrition. Distinguished Schools applied separately for these honors. This year’s honorees include 10 schools for Arts Education, nine for Career Technical Education, and four schools for Physical Activity and Nutrition—with one school receiving honors in two categories.
“We know that closing the achievement gap includes world-class instruction, including access to STEAM, career technical education, physical education, and nutrition education.” said Thurmond. “Instruction outside of core academic subject areas—like job training, entrepreneurship, and STEAM—helps all students prepare for 21st century jobs and sparks creative and healthy minds. I congratulate these 22 Exemplary Program Award winners for their outstanding work.”
Source: Thurmond Announces Exemplary Program Awards – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Bill Hicks
Area high school marching band participants could soon be earning PE credit as they practice their halftime routines if the advocates who spoke during Thursday night’s Fairfield-Suisun School District governing board meeting have anything to say about it.
The board currently is mulling an idea in place by a handful of surrounding school districts that allows the repetitive and sometimes rigorous physical training involved in marching band field shows – and parade events – to be counted as adequately meeting physical education requirements.
Parents and others affiliated with the district’s band programs testified to the board that band members can put in as many as 90-plus hours of training in the two weeks prior to the start of school, as well as 12- to 13-hour days of marching and loading/offloading of bulky band equipment during weekend competitions.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun band members could soon march for PE credit
By Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce
The cheering and excited shouts from the large group of eighth graders gathered in a circle around their PE teacher could be heard throughout an entire corridor of the Suisun City Salvation Army KROC Center.
It was the morning of Oct. 3 and the 3rd Annual Inspire: Dreams Start Now interactive career fair was in full swing. All 1,600 eighth graders in Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District were going to visit the career fair that day and at this particular moment, students from Green Valley Middle School were gathered at the booth of Travis Air Force Base’s operations division.
Source: Students get INSPIREd at annual career fair
By Ryan McCarthy
Instructors came Monday to B. Gale Wilson K-8 School to show students how to lower their scores.
Brian Glosser, PGA teaching pro at Rancho Solano Golf Course in Fairfield, and others were also introducing the game to many of the youths, including first-graders.
“We just want them to have fun,” Glosser said of students. “We make it as basic as possible.”
Source: Golf instructors show B. Gale Wilson students how to get a grip
By Richard Bammer
In the coming weeks, if Vacaville Unified leaders eventually approve revisions to a physical education and activity regulation and policy, secondary school student-athletes and others with busy schedules will be able to get required state PE credit with an expanded definition of Independent Study.
In a Thursday slide presentation to the governing board, Kelley Birch, director of secondary education, reviewed the existing regulation and policy, formally designated as AR and BP 6142.7(a), respectively.
District administrators are recommending and expansion of the physical education aspect of Independent Study, to serve the needs of students who want to participate in a competitive sport “independent” of a middle school or high school — or whose school schedules are “impacted” because they participate in other school courses and/or activities.
Source: Vacaville school district leaders consider revisions to PE and Activity policy
By Richard Bammer
State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson said it best, directly and clearly, when the state Department of Education on Dec. 19 released of the 2015-16 state physical fitness test scores:
“If we don’t change eating and exercise habits, we will continue to see a portion of our students afflicted with diabetes and heart disease,” Torlakson said. “Healthy, active, and well-nourished children are more likely to attend school and are more prepared and motivated to learn.”
His statement — really a wake-up call for action at the highest levels of our state government, for California’s K-12 education leaders and parents — came in a press release that noted the percentage of students who met the state’s Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) standards had declined slightly compared to the previous two years. Cause for alarm? Perhaps not. Cause for concern? Yes.
Source: State’s physical fitness test scores raise some alarm – The Reporter
By Richard Bammer
Something of a turnaround compared to last year, Vacaville-area students generally outperformed their county and state counterparts, no longer lagging behind, on physical fitness tests, data from a California Department of Education report indicate.
The report, released Monday, comes as State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson noted that the percentage of students who met the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) performance standards declined slightly compared to the previous two years, according to the results of the 2015-16 Physical Fitness Test.
For the past 17 years, given to fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders in the spring, the test measured performance standards in six areas: aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extensor strength, upper body strength, and flexibility. The HFZ is a state benchmark of fitness that offers, educators believe, protection against diseases tied to sedentary lifestyles, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Source: CDE report: Vaca-area students generally improve physical fitness scores
By Todd R. Hansen
Taylor Eisen and Jillian Baron are teammates on the soccer pitch for the Revolution – sharing a singular goal of defeating their foes.
But out on the cross country-style course at the 40th annual Doug Butt Run at Laurel Creek Park on Wednesday, Eisen, 8, had no equal in the girls third-grade division, easily outdistancing the other runners for the win.
“I love to run,” she said.
In fact, Eisen had her sights set on the rabbit, one of several high school runners who helped set the pace in each of the 16 races and helped keep all the runners on the twisting, undulating courses.
Source: More than 400 youth carry on Butt Run tradition
By Richard Bammer
Elementary music instruction and the review and possible approval of several policies are on the agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified trustees meet tonight in Fairfield.
The director of elementary education, Cindy Brown, will lead a discussion about the physical education, music and art programs in K-5 and K-8 schools. Her presentation will include information about the level of music and band instruction provided in the elementary schools. The district employs 39 specialists in physical education, seven in art and music.
The sprawling district, the county’s largest, has some 21,000 students across more than two dozen campuses.
Source: Elementary P.E., music, new board policies on FSUSD agenda tonight
The 13th annual Loop the Lagoon family fun run is Saturday in Lagoon Valley Park.
The event benefits the Vacaville Public Education Foundation, and partner Fleet Feet Sports in Vacaville said they are determined to make it the best Loop yet.
Event organizers promise family fun, food, music and more.
The event kicks off at 8:20 a.m. Saturday with the 5K run/walk loop around the lagoon.
There is also a 10K run/walk — a double loop around the lagoon — and a 10K Tower Challenge on an all-terrain course with a 730-foot elevation gain and descent.
Computerized timing and results will be in place for the 5K, 10K and Tower Challenge.
Prizes, provided by Brooks Sports, are three deep in each 10-year age category for these races.
Source: Loop the Lagoon to benefit Vacaville students
By Richard Bammer
In his latest update on the Local Control Accountability Plan, or LCAP, Mark Frazier told Vacaville Unified trustees that plans are to hire five full-time elementary science/physical education teachers.
As the school district’s chief academic officer, he delivered the news during Thursday’s governing board meeting in the Educational Services Center.
It comes after two straight years of results showing Vacaville Unified students lag behind state averages on physical fitness tests, with an increasing number of students tested — in fifth, seventh and ninth grades — failing to meet “healthy fitness zone” performance standards that would be a hedge against worrisome medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
Source: VUSD leaders hear update to LCAP
By Thomas Gase
Saturday’s weather featured a lot of clouds and rain, but thanks to CC Sabathia, a couple hundred kids in Vallejo spent the morning with smiles that could brighten up a New York skyline.
The Vallejo High graduate, New York Yankee and 2007 Cy Young Award winner was on hand for the CC Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation Baseball ProCamp that was free for boys and girls that were in grades one through eight.
via CC Sabathia brightens up Vallejo kids day with annual free baseball camp.
By Richard Bammer
Kairos fifth- and seventh-graders, in the Vacaville K-8 school’s first year of being tested, far exceeded state averages in physical fitness, results from a California Department of Education report indicate.
Released late last year, the report noted that the percentage of public school students who met the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) performance standards in all six areas declined somewhat but mostly remained stable this year, according to data from the 2014-15 physical fitness test. The zone is a state benchmark of fitness that offers “protection against diseases resulting from sedentary living,” among them obesity and diabetes, Pam Slater, a CDE spokeswoman, said in a press release.
At the Elm Street campus — a independent charter school and, thus, essentially a stand-alone school district — more than 100 fifth- and seventh-graders surpassed the state averages in aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extension strength, upper body strength, and flexibility. The tests were given over a series of days in spring 2015.
via Kairos students far exceed state physical fitness standards.
By Richard Bammer
It is no longer your grandfather’s physical education class in at least one Vacaville elementary school.
Valerie Blanchard’s third-graders on Monday spent the better part of some 40 minutes running, jumping, pairing up with partners to do more movement, including folk dancing and even The Twist to a recording of the No.1 1960 tune by Chubby Checker.
But it was volunteer Irene Sanders, a retired Vacaville Unified teacher, who was in command, joyfully, a quality of her personality that seemed to spread to the 24 boys and girls having fun inside the multipurpose room at the North Orchard Avenue campus.
via The simple pleasures of PE at Orchard Elementary.
By Richard Bammer
Vacaville Unified students, as they did last year, continue to generally lag behind state averages in physical fitness, data from a California Department of Education report indicate.
Released Nov. 20, the report noted that the percentage of public school students who met the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) performance standards in all six areas declined somewhat but mostly remained stable this year, according to the results of the 2014-15 physical fitness test.
Once again, local students are mostly failing to match or exceed statewide averages in the tests that measure aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extensor strength, upper body strength, and flexibility, the data revealed.
via Vaca students continue to lag behind state physical fitness standards.
By Sharon Noguchi
California students are less fit than they were in 2014, although they’re marginally in better shape than five years ago, according to tests released by the state Department of Education.
Statewide, the percentage of students who met all six of the state’s fitness goals declined half a percentage point or less. Yet, only 26.4 percent of fifth-graders, 32.5 percent of seventh-graders and 37.6 percent of ninth-graders, the only grades tested, were declared fit.
In local counties, students generally performed better than their statewide peers, except for ninth-graders in Alameda County.
Results varied widely by school and district, correlating somewhat — but not always — with socioeconomic status. In the Los Gatos School District, for instance, more than 61 percent of fifth- and seventh-graders tested as fit, while in Oakland Unified just 21 percent of both grades did.
via Only one in three seventh-graders pass fitness test.
By Virginia Postrel
No roughhousing. No superhero games. No turning your fingers – or your Pop-Tart – into a make-believe gun. No tag. And certainly no dodgeball.
Stories of zero-tolerance play-policing by schools are a well-established news genre.
Most recently, parents in Washington state mounted a successful campaign to force the Mercer Island School District to reverse its ban on playing tag during “unstructured playtime,” or what used to be called recess. In his backpedaling press release, district superintendent Gary Plano puzzlingly insisted that “asking students to keep their hands and feet to themselves at all times, including recess” wasn’t a ban on tag.
via Schools hurting children by banning rough play.