By Richard Bammer
Like most of us, Vacaville area educators, students and families recall the week in March 2020 when their world began to change. A year and some days since, many long for the “before times.”
However, across Solano County and the nation, online education has taken root. As classroom instruction is about to resume in a hybrid model for what’s left of the academic year, local educators hold out hope that students will welcome the change.
In emailed responses to a series of Reporter questions, Ed Santopadre, associate superintendent for Vacaville Unified, noted ways student learning and achievement has been affected by the pandemic and remote learning.
Source: Coronavirus: Solano public schools unlikely to return to the ‘before times’ – The Reporter
By Todd R. Hansen
The Vanden High School Academic Decathlon team took second to Campolindo High School of Contra Costa County in the 2021 Bay Regional Academic Decathlon.
Davis Senior High School was third.
The Vanden High team members are seniors Diana Egan, Faith Miller, Lucas Morales, Annika Serrano, Alex Melendres and Jelly Caraballo; juniors Nina Schmidt and Nihal Grewal; and sophomore Sydney Haas.
The Solano County Office of Education hosted the decathlon, which attracted 240 students from 15 high schools in Solano, Alameda, Contra Costa, Imperial, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and Yolo counties.
Source: Vanden 2nd at regional Academic Decathlon; will represent Solano at state event
Seventeen Solano students were recognized Saturday during a virtual Chinese New Year celebration hosted by the Chinese American Association of Solano County and awarded scholarships to aid them in their academic journeys.
“The strength of our communities and the future is directly dependent upon theeducation of our youth,”said C.C. Yin, founder and chairman of CAASC, in a press statement.
During the last 24 years, due to generous corporate sponsorships and community support, 306 students have been granted CAASC scholarships totaling in excess of $220,500, organizers said.
Source: 17 Solano students awarded college scholarships – The Reporter
Mariah Levy, a senior at Vanden High School, and Shelbri Gates, a senior at Mare Island Technology Academy, have received the first-ever Travis Credit Union Foundation scholarship.
The $500 awards were “developed to motivate and support college-aged youth from underserved communities to pursue post-secondary educational opportunities,” according to a statement released by the credit union.
The scholarships were announced during the annual Life after High School event, hosted in partnership with the Solano County Office of Education.
Source: Solano students receive Travis Credit scholarships
By Thomas Gase
When it comes to COVID-19 in Solano County, it’s like officials have heard three voices, just like in the 1989 film, “Field of Dreams.”
The first two voices say, “If you build it, they will come” and “Ease his pain.” Solano has hosted five vaccination clinics in the last two weeks at either the Solano County Fairgrounds or Benicia gym and giving out approximately 9,000 shots to people aged 75-and older or in the first tier of Phase 1, you could say the county has received that message and gotten work done.
It’s that “go the distance” message that seems to be confusing people. While many people want to return to in-person instruction with schools, distance learning seems to be the pick for the foreseeable future.
Source: When will schools go back to in-person instruction in Solano County? – Times-Herald
By Matt Sieger
Vacaville’s Imagine That! in Alamo Plaza was created to offer a place where kids of all ages can come play, learn and explore all the possibilities. But what happens to a creative program when a pandemic strikes?
Well, the creative people in charge imagined a way to adapt to the crisis.
Imagine That! came up with a unique School Support and Enrichment program which fuses its existing program with support for students’ schooling.
“It started with a throwaway line,” recalls Director of Operations Alex Christensen. “We were talking about doing afterschool programs, and (someone said), ‘Hey, instead of after school what if we just did school for them?’ The director at the time, her ears perked up and she took it to the board. Lauren (Runow, Board president) jumped on it and started talking with the Vacaville Unified (School District).”
Source: Imagine That! is doing school – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
They are angels with bags of food for area elementary students who may be food-insecure during weekends when local schools are not offering or distributing free lunches and breakfasts.
As co-director of the Vacaville chapter of End 68 Hours of Hunger — a reference to the weekend time period that gives the group its name — Tinamarie DeStefano of Vacaville said the mission is to give away food to eat, Friday night to Sunday night, to young students in four Solano County school districts, making a difference at more than a dozen schools in all.
The food — nonperishable pantry foods, peanut butter and jelly, granola bars, fruit cups and the like — helps the students, many of whom are from poor families or at-risk, “to focus,” improve test scores, and lessen behavioral problems, such as Attention Deficit Disorder, DeStefano said.
Source: Angels with food bags for area school kids – The Reporter
Travis Credit Union invites young adults to attend ‘Finance U,’ an interactive virtual event Thursday that’s designed to teach youth about financial aid opportunities for postsecondary education, choosing a school and preparing for campus life and admissions.
The program will include special guests and giveaways to engage youth interested in higher education after high school. All youth (ages 13 to 21) registered for the event will be entered in a drawing to win a new Chromebook. Attendees can register at traviscu.org/finance-u.
Travis Credit Union has come together with community partners since 2006 to increase student awareness of available state and federal opportunities for financial aid. These events exemplify the credit union’s mission to provide financial wellness in the community reflecting the credit union’s “Awesome Cause” of providing financial education, financial literacy and financial advocacy to all it serves, according to a press release from the credit union.
Source: Travis Credit Union hosts ‘Finance U’ event to promote financial aid
By Richard Bammer
As it has since the founding of our nation in the late 18th century, the Electoral College is the formal body which elects the president and vice president of the United States.
And for nearly as many years, some federal legislators have called for its abolition with a constitutional amendment and advocated for direct election of the president by registered eligible voters.
Yet, as established in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, the Electoral College remains legally in place and will determine the outcome of the 2020 election.
Source: A call for Constitution Essay Contest entries – The Reporter
By Richardo Cano
Kristie Summerrill immediately began texting her kindergartners’ parents to check if they were safe as the CZU Lightning Complex fires forced mass evacuations in Bonny Doon, the rural community northwest of Santa Cruz where the elementary school had just recently begun online instruction.
Many of her kindergartners’ families, some who’d lost their homes to wildfire, were sheltering at the Chaminade Resort & Spa in Santa Cruz, a mom told Summerrill. So the teacher and her husband drove their van to the hotel armed with seven bags filled with snacks, water, food, games and supplies, unsure if it would even be of any help or comfort to families without homes.
Source: Wildfires set school plans ablaze for more than 70k students | CalMatters
In the face of shelter in place restrictions, local artist and instructor Diane Williams had to learn newways to teach. In addition to quickly learning a variety oftechnology platforms, this week Williams launched her ownYouTube Channel, I AN I Studio channel connection.
In addition to painting full time, Williams and her husband, artist Chuck Potter, have taught local workshops in their studio in Benicia’s Arsenal. That is, until Covid stopped their classes entirely. Oddly, the pandemic pointed their teaching in a new direction – to online workshops and YouTube videos.
Source: Local artist brings students together with YouTube channel
By Todd R. Hansen
The little boy held out the ice cream to Sophia Anderson and said, “para ti.”
It means “for you.”
But the ice cream was for the boy and many others like him who live in the worst kind of poverty. Sophia and her brother, Luke Anderson, along with their family had bought the ice cream for the children in the village that has come to be known as Calle de la Esperanza.
Source: Green Valley brother, sister start nonprofit after coming face-to-face with poverty
By Maggie Fusek
As California Gov. Gavin Newsom laid out back-to-school guidelines for K-12 students across the state Friday, saying that students in counties on the state’s coronavirus monitoring list must start the school year online, the Solano County Office of Education confirmed all K-12 students in Solano County will start the school year with distance learning.
“Previously, some Solano County school districts and charter schools made plans to reopen school campuses with varying models of social distancing, modified schedules, and distance learning options for students,” SCOE Spokeswoman Jennifer Leonard said Friday in a news release.
Source: Solano County Students To Start New School Year Online | Benicia, CA Patch
By Nick Sestanovich
Going to space has been on a lot of people’s minds recently, likely due to the SpaceX launch.
Not everyone is willing to undergo the extensive training to be sent into orbit, though, so the next best thing? Looking to Vacaville’s center of imagination: Imagine That!
The interactive science and art center is in the midst of its Space Adventure Camp, where youngsters have been putting their creative skills to use by creating spaceships, planets and alien blasters, all while learning lessons about the Milky Way and the planets therein.
Source: Youth create rockets, planets at Space Adventure Camp in Vacaville – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
Solano County Office of Education is accepting applications for members to serve on its Solano Youth Commission, an organization aimed at raising community awareness of social and health issues facing teens.
In past years, SYC members have focused their efforts around issues related to alcohol, tobacco and drug prevention as well as mental health awareness, violence elimination and healthy relationships. This year, the focus will be something very topical: addressing racism and unconscious bias.
In the past week, the issue of race has been on the forefront of many people’s minds. The deaths of individuals like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers have prompted widespread protests in all 50 states calling for widespread changes in the criminal justice system, and Vacaville High School publicly condemned videos that surfaced this week of students using racial slurs.
Source: Solano Youth Coalition seeking members to address race, equity in coming school year – The Reporter
A free virtual Girls in Robotics Leadership Camp is being offered to middle school girls starting Monday.
The camp is being put on by the Solano County Office of Education in partnership with the Vacaville School District and the University of California, Davis, Computing-Science, Technology, Engineering and Math division.
It runs through Friday.
Source: Virtual girls robotics camp starts Monday in Solano
By Kelly Pidgeon James
A new kids art contest begins on May 25th for all kids 17 and under living in Solano County. Each contestant can submit one drawing or painting depicting how their city is standing up against Covid-19. The entries will be sorted into online galleries for each of Solano’s seven cities as well as a gallery for kids living in unincorporated Solano. At the end of the contest, the mayors of each of the seven cities will select the winning entry from their city’s gallery to represent the city on a poster which will be hung in various public buildings throughout Solano County.
Source: Good News: FS Kids Art Online Gallery is excited to announce a new online art contest for all Solano County kids!
With the pandemic limiting high school graduations to very little pomp under a bad circumstance, getting “adopted” by a stranger puts a boost into the joy barometer, one American Canyon High School graduate confirmed.
Oh sure, Kaylee Davis was admittedly “kind of embarrassed,” stepping from her Vallejo home to see a Kona Ice truck and congratulatory cupcakes, not mention various food, beverages and bathroom essentials that previously arrived.
Still, “it’s kind of nice,” the 17-year-old said. “It is weird to have this much attention.”
Source: Facebook groups help high school seniors get ‘adopted’ [Times-Herald, Vallejo, Calif.]
By Bill Hicks
Part of the reason “high school” movies succeed is because the students are easily relatable, no matter when the story is set – today, the 1980s or the ’50s.
There are the students into sports, the students into academics, the students involved in band, and the students not really into it at all – no matter the era, school experiences have generally been unchanged for decades.
Except for this year.
Source: Weirdest . . . school year . . . ever
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
Dae Spering made a joke on Facebook recently about putting a photo of her son Wiley Lloyd, who is graduating from Vacaville Christian High School, on the Downtown Theatre marquee.
After all, the Class of 2020 has missed out on many rituals in their last year of high school. Some will even graduate with their class – virtually – rather than have family and friends cheer when the graduate’s name is called.
Source: High school, college graduates can see their names, faces in lights