By Heather Janssen
The pandemic has led to many missed milestones for students and their families, but there’s new hope graduation may go on.
The California Department of Public Health says districts can start making plans for possible in-person graduation ceremonies, as numbers trend in the right direction. The catch is that the ceremonies will likely be outdoors, with limits on who can attend.
Source: California Allows School Districts To Begin Making Plans For In-Person Graduations With Limits – CBS Sacramento
By Wayne Freedman
Broken eggs and rotting yokes on a suburban sidewalk. Your house might also become a target if you put up a sign urging California schools to reopen.
“You can hide in the dark to do it, but your point will never be made because we don’t know what you have to say,” said Jimmy Ferrucci about the people who pelted his yard last weekend.
Jimmy and his wife Sarah made their statement months ago. You’ve heard of one room school houses? How about the two-car garage school house where the Ferrucci family, their kids and friends attend class together.
“We are advocating for our children. Standing up. Saying we want an option,” said Sarah.
Source: COVID-19 in California: Solano County parents frustrated with distance learning create classroom in their garage – ABC7 San Francisco
By Kara Arundel
Rain or shine, snow or no snow, the students of Homestead School, a private Montessori in Glen Spey, New York, will be spending a good part of their school days outside. There they will learn about vertebrates, biodiversity, writing poetry and more.
Using the campus’ 85 acres was the best and safest way school leaders determined in-person learning could continue amid a pandemic.
“We put our attention to how we could move experiential learning outdoors. We thought it was so important to get the kids back on campus,” said Nisha Gupta, head of financial affairs, head of curriculum, and a middle school teacher at Homestead School.
Source: Ed leaders share best practices for reopening schools | Education Dive
By Matt O Donnell
The Napa County Office of Education announced Thursday that four Napa County school districts will open for hybrid in-person instruction on Monday, Oct. 26.
That includes nearby American Canyon High School.
“American Canyon High School is eager to welcome those students who choose to come back to in person learning in the safest possible way,” Principal Crystal Lopez told the Times-Herald in an email. “The Napa Valley Unified School District has partnered closely with Napa County Office of Education and Napa County Public Health for protocols and guidance for our planned phased reopening of schools.”
Source: Napa County School District announces reopening for Oct. 26 – Times-Herald
By Kimberly K. Fu
A grass fire that started near Lake Berryessa Tuesday afternoon tiptoed to Pleasants Valley Road overnight, razing homes and resulting in early morning evacuations in the area of Alamo Drive and fire crews from beyond Solano battling to keep the conflagration at bay.
Around 3:30 a.m., dozens of vehicles lined Alamo Drive and filled the parking lot of the Latter-day Saints Church. The majority were area evacuees.
Many said they received an automated alert around 2:30 a.m. to leave their homes immediately and to seek shelter elsewhere.
Source: Fires north of Vacaville cause evacuations en masse – The Reporter
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
A group gathered Tuesday at Green Valley Road and Business Center Drive to protest the death of George Floyd and issue a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The protest – the second on consecutive Tuesdays – was organized by Cordelia Hills Elementary School Principal Steve Trotter and 2019 Rodriguez High School graduate Bryce Smith, who just wrapped up his first year at the University of California, Berkeley.
About 40 people remained on the sidewalk, chanting Floyd’s name, as well as “I can’t breathe” and calls for justice.
Source: Rodriguez grad, elementary school principal team up for weekly Black Lives Matter rally
By Maggie Hickey
On May 6, the U.S. Department of Education released new Title IX regulations that establish how education programs that receive federal funding must respond to sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. A lot has been written about how the new rules apply in college classrooms, parties and dormitories, but the new regulations also apply to elementary school playgrounds and high school sports programs. In fact, the regulations detail specific minimum responsibilities and requirements that apply to kindergarten through 12th grade.
Source: Title IX regulations impose new requirements on K-12 districts | Education Dive
By Angela Jones
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Kappa Beta Omega Chapter in Vallejo is pleased to announce that applications are now available for the 2020 African American Graduation Recognition Celebration which will be presented as a virtual program. Interested high school seniors should contact their school counselor to obtain an application for participation instructions, or go to www.kappabetaomegaaka1974.com to apply online. All applications are due by Wednesday, May 13.
This is the 17th year that the chapter has sponsored the event will be livestreamed by the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church Media Department on Sunday, June 7 at 4 p.m.
Source: Good News: Sorority seeks applicants for virtual high school graduation
By Thomas Gase
It was a day of celebrating firsts on Sonoma Boulevard in Vallejo as a grand opening was held for the First5 Center, a new community gathering area designed to spark children’s creativity and love for learning by encouraging them to play and grow.
The goal of the center (which is not a daycare) is to give parents and caregivers a safe and welcoming place where they can receive information and be connected to community resources. That includes basic support services, housing employment, food, health, dental and child support services — all provided at no cost.
The event drew approximately 400 people, many of them kids under the age of five running around in a jungle gym like area consisting of a fake mushroom and ladybug as well as a bridge. Others at the event included elected officials as well as featured speakers Erin Hannigan (Supervisor District 1), Lisette Estrella-Henderson (Solano County Superintendent of Schools), Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan and Stephanie Hochman (Program Director, Bay Area Community Resources).
Source: Vallejo adults, kids celebrate opening of First5 Center – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
The Leaven made sure that first responders were not left out of Valentine’s Day festivities.
Kids in the Fairfield-based agency’s after-school mentoring program made cards for law enforcement officers, firefighters, medics and Travis Air Force Base airmen and presented them to the first responders as part of the “Heroes of the Heart” program Thursday.
Throughout The Leaven’s many after-school centers, children colored, cut, pasted and wrote messages of support to first-responders and troops.
“They’re always doing something for us to keep us safe, so we’re giving back to them,” said Dina Johnson, site director at Signature at Fairfield Apartments.
Source: Leaven after-school program makes Valentine’s cards for troops, first responders – The Reporter
By Daily Republic Staff
Area teachers will be trained on local and statewide water resource issues Feb. 22 at the Dunnell Nature Park and Education Center in Fairfield.
The training will conducted by the Project WET Foundation through the Solano Resource Conservation District.
“Teachers and educators are integral in helping children and their families learn about their water resources and responsible water use,” Marianne Butler, education director for the Solano Resource Conservation District, said in a statement released through her office. “We are proud to bring Project WET resources to Solano County’s schools through these hands-on, engaging educator trainings.”
Source: Solano teachers to be immersed in water resource training
Average teacher pay in California public schools rose to $82,746 last school year, an increase of 2.6 percent from the prior year, new state data show.
Teacher pay was highest in Silicon Valley’sMountain View-Los Altos Union High school district, where teachers earned, on average, about $136,500. A teacher making that salary still likely could not afford the median-priced home in Mountain View, which sold for about $1.7 million late last year, according to tracking firm Zillow.com.
More than a dozen very small districts in rural areas of California paid their teachers, on average, less than $50,000 last school year. Among districts employing at least 100 teachers, the lowest average pay was about $57,400 at Plumas Unified. The median-priced home in Plumas County sold for about $276,000 late last year, according to Zillow.
Source: Are teachers paid enough? See the average pay for every California school district [The Sacramento Bee]
Substitute teachers and other school employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits when they’re not called to work in a summer school session, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
In a case from San Francisco, the court unanimously rejected the city school district’s argument that summer school sessions can never be considered regular “academic terms” that are the basis for unemployment benefits for on-call employees who are not summoned to work.
A summer session is classified as a “regular” term, making out-of-work employees eligible for payments, if it resembles the normal fall-to-spring term in “enrollment, staffing, budget, instructional program, or other objective characteristics,” Justice Goodwin Liu said in the 7-0 ruling.
Source: Teacher subs may get jobless benefits when not called in summer, court rules [San Francisco Chronicle]
By Shawna De La Rosa
Many organizations — and even some individuals — have turned to crowdfunding to raise money for specific causes and projects. Educators are beginning to turn to this source, as well, to compensate for the lack of funds available for classroom projects and supplies. Over the past decade, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised for classrooms through crowdfunding efforts.
The initiative is often a win-win, as schools and teachers can request money for specific projects, and donors both large and small can select to support the projects they are drawn to. The GoFundMe and EdCo crowdsource sites also are in the education market.
While the practice is gaining in popularity, however, some districts, like the Metro Nashville Public Schools, forbid teachers from participating over concerns teachers may misuse or keep the raised money.
Source: 30 districts join DonorsChoose program to supplement classroom resource budgets | Education Dive
By Michael T. Nietzel
Two new large-scale reports provide convincing empirical evidence that problem- or inquiry-based learning is effective and that teachers, students and parents prefer it as an instructional method – along with other active, immersive techniques.
Problem-based learning works.
Using randomized experimental trials, the gold standard in this type of research, economists Rosangela Bando, Emma Naslund-Hadley and Paul Gertler conducted ten field experiments in four countries (Argentina, Belize, Paraguay, and Peru) covering more than 17,000 students.
They randomly assigned preschool, 3rd and 4th grade classes to receive either problem-based instruction or traditional instructional methods in both math and science and then compared the standardized test scores of students after they had experienced seven months of each method.
Source: New, Strong Evidence For Problem-Based Learning
By Maggie Avants
The first of three phases in a widespread PG&E public safety power outage was implemented early Wednesday morning, leaving more than 74,000 customers in the North Bay and 513,000 across Northern California in the dark. The utility giant started cutting power at 12 a.m. across significant portions of its service territory, including in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Marin, Yolo, Lake, Mendocino and Colusa counties.
Solano, Sonoma and Napa counties the hardest hit as of 2 a.m. Wednesday. The city of Fairfield had 17,963 customers powerless, while 13,665 were without power in Vacaville. The outage was affecting 19,357 PG&E customers in Napa, 15,925 in the city of Sonoma, 6,685 in St. Helena and 3,321 in Calistoga.
Source: PG&E Power Shutoff Latest: 74K In Solano Co., North Bay Affected | Suisun City, CA Patch
By Naaz Modan
Building and maintaining a positive school culture can be an uphill battle for many principals and superintendents. Once attained, however, it has shown to have a significant impact in areas of concern including student academic performance and teacher retention.
Recently, one Massachusetts school linked positive school culture to a 100% college acceptance rate, and positive climate was also found to reduce teacher turnover in a turnaround school in Colorado. This kind of impact begins with strong district and school leaders, who model attitudes and behaviors for staff members and students.
For those wondering where to start, we’ve gathered advice from several veteran administrators on how they approach building positive culture within their schools and districts.
Source: Administrators share 7 tips for building positive school culture | Education Dive
By Glen Faison
Tens of thousands of Solano County residents are subject to possible power shutoffs midweek as PG&E monitors weather conditions that could lead to wildfires.
Nearly 33,000 Pacific Gas & Electric Company customers in Solano County are subject to a possible power shutoff starting before dawn Wednesday, the utility announced Monday.
The utility cites weather conditions that could lead to greater fire risk across the region.
Source: Thousands across Solano face possible power outages
By Richard Freeman
First off, it’s Smokey Bear. Not Smokey The Bear. No parents would doom their offspring with “The” as a middle name.
Yes, there’s Eddie Arnold’s 1952 song, “Smokey The Bear” – “Smokey the Bear, Smokey the Bear. Prowlin’ and a growlin’ and a sniffin’ the air” — but it’s wrong, said Steve Dunsky, a veteran U.S. Forest Service employee and coordinator of the “Visions of the Wild,” a four-day nature festival running Thursday through Sunday.
Not only does Smokey remain as the iconic figure of the Forest Service, he apparently has a personal trainer.
Source: ‘Visions of the Wild’ bears all in Vallejo – Times-Herald
The average school start time for California middle and high schools is 8:07 am and a proposal to push that back to 8:30 am for high schools, and move it up to 8 am for middle schools is getting closer to going to the Governor’s desk.
Senate Bill 328 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee Friday by a vote of 14-3.
Rural counties would be exempt from specified start times.Questions have been raised about the cost. Bill Analysis shows tens of millions of dollars statewide would need to come from the Proposition 98 General Fund. That money would go to districts t make changes to school transportation routes, and hire additional bus drivers. School districts would need an additional amount, projected in the low millions, to add staff both before and after school. Districts would also need hundreds of thousands of dollars for “additional workload associated with collectively bargaining work hours.”
Source: School Districts Could Need Millions Of Dollars If Plan To Push Back School Start Time Passes – CBS Sacramento