Padan prioritizes mental health lessons as students return – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

While many students are happy to be returning to campuses after being away for so long, the isolation stemming from the yearlong closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic has also taken a toll on their mental health.

It is an area educators throughout the country are working to address and one that staff at Eugene Padan Elementary School have placed emphasis on.

Kindergarten teacher Kimberly Arnold said this has included incorporating social-emotional learning curricula at every grade level, establishing a committee to support best practices for teaching such curricula, and hiring mental health practitioners to support students most in need.

Source: Coronavirus: Padan prioritizes mental health lessons as students return – The Reporter

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

VUSD officials explain new tool for student mental health support – KCRA 3

School-based mental health services and support programs are important to creating safe and supportive learning environments.

The Vacaville Unified School District has developed a new tool to provide students with a variety of resources.

Teacher Kim Arnold and Joanna Littell, a mental health physician, joined KCRA 3 on Wednesday to talk about available mental health support for students.

Source: Q&A: Vacaville School District officials explain new tool for student mental health support

Vacaville High nabs boys golf crown – The Reporter

By Matt Sieger

The formula for determining the golf team champion of the Monticello Empire League is a bit complicated.

Vacaville High, however, kept it simple and erased all doubt by not only going 10-0 in the regular season but also winning the league tournament on a sunny but windy Tuesday afternoon at Rancho Solano golf course.

The Bulldogs were led by Jack Mitchells’s 86 over 18 holes, followed by Ben Wilhite (89), Dylan Dzierman (97), Tyler Riley (100), and Evan Wilson (108), for the low team score of the day, 480.

Source: Vacaville High nabs boys golf crown – The Reporter

Vacaville Students Welcomed Back For In-Person Learning After Over A Year – CBS Sacramento

By Ryan Hill

“It feels really good to be back,” Caitlyn Chalmers, a senior at Will C. Wood High School, said.

Being masked-up and socially distant means a lot for Chalmers. She and the rest of her senior class are able to have somewhat of a normal ending of her senior year.

“It means a lot just to see everyone for a little bit before we go our separate ways,” Chalmers said.

“As we got further along with staying at home, I really didn’t think it was going to happen.”

Chalmers told CBS13 that she was a junior when she and her classmates were forced into distance learning.

Source: Vacaville Students Welcomed Back For In-Person Learning After Over A Year – CBS Sacramento

Middle, high school students return to campus – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Putting up festive displays is a hallmark for the first day of the academic year is a hallmark for Will C. Wood High School. While not technically being the first day of the year, Monday had a big reason to celebrate: it was the first day of in-person learning since March 2020, when all campuses closed because of the coronavirus.

Wood — as well as all of Vacaville Unified School District’s middle and high schools — reopened its campus for the district’s new hybrid schedule Monday, following the reopening of the district’s elementary schools Thursday.

The secondary schools are gradually easing students back in with the 25 percent hybrid model, where students come to campus one day a week, based on the first letter of their last name, and continue to learn from home the rest of the week. This will change after students return from spring break on April 12, where half of the students are on campus Mondays and Tuesdays, and the other half of the students are on campus Thursdays and Fridays. All students will continue to learn remotely Wednesdays.

Source: Coronavirus: Middle, high school students return to campus – The Reporter

Excitement evident as Markham students return to in-person classes – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Familiar back-to-school scenes played out at Markham Elementary School Thursday — students lining up to enter their new classrooms, teachers laying down ground rules, cars lined up along the curb to drop off students and crossing guards back in full force.

There were also differences from past years — it was a cold March day instead of a hot mid-August one, social distancing markers on the ground, plastic barriers around some desks. And, the fact that students were simply continuing their lessons from the previous day but in a new environment.

One year and five days since Vacaville Unified School District made the decision to close all of its campuses for in-person learning because of the coronavirus, elementary students throughout the district returned to campuses Thursday for the new hybrid model, in which cohorts of students meet at different times of the day to ensure social distancing.

Source: Coronavirus: Excitement evident as Markham students return to in-person classes – The Reporter

Solano public schools unlikely to return to the ‘before times’ – The Reporter

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

Benicia High student tops all others at science, engineering fair – Daily Republic

Allison McCabe, a Benicia High School student, was the overall winner of the recent 2021 Virtual Science and Engineering Fair.

McCabe also took first in the Physical Science category in the Senior Division, in which high school students competed. There were also Elementary (third through fifth grades and Junior (sixth through eighth grades) divisions. McCabe is a sophomore.

“Our goal is to inspire more students to consider a career in science, engineering or a related field. The fair is an excellent opportunity for our elementary, middle and high school students to apply science and engineering skills to investigate problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and develop conclusions. Events like the Science and Engineering Fair have the potential to spark a lifelong interest in a related field.” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement announcing the winners.

Source: Benicia High student tops all others at science, engineering fair

COVID shut down high school sports for a year – The Reporter

By Matt Sieger

They used words and phrases like “unknowns,” “fluid and scary,” “unforeseeable challenges,” “uncharted territory” and “limbo.”

Sometimes the athletic directors of the local high schools were at a loss for words to describe their reaction and feelings to the suspension of spring sports on Friday, March 13, 2020, due to the threat of the coronavirus.

Will C. Wood Athletic Director Andrea Daniels noted, “It’s just the timing. It’s right when we are starting, so you’re in the flow, you’ve had your preseason and a lot of your practice sessions. But they (the student-athletes) all have a good attitude. It is what it is. We have to do what we have to do.”

Source: COVID shut down high school sports for a year

A Year From A Distance – The Reporter

By Joel Rosenbaum

The Durham sisters, Kenley, 11 (left), and Delaney, 9 of Vacaville participate in their distance learning Friday from the parking lot of Vacaville High School during a peaceful demonstration organized by concerned parents to mark a full year of distance learning for the students in the Vacaville Unified School District due to COVID-19. Both girls attend Browns Valley Elementary School. Kenley is a sixth-grader and Delaney is in the fourth-grade.

Source: A Year From A Distance – The Reporter

Vacaville students, parents demand return to in-person learning – Fox 40

BY Olivia DeGennaro

Friday marks one year since students in the Vacaville Unified School District have been distance learning.

To mark the occasion, they sat at folding tables to do their distance learning in the parking lot of Vacaville High School.

“At first, they just said we would be gone for two weeks,” Micah Navarro, a Vacaville High School freshman, told FOX40. “And they kept extending one month, two months … Honestly, I never would have imagined it to be like this.”

Source: Vacaville students, parents demand return to in-person learning

Vacaville, Vanden, Wood football ready to kick off – The Reporter

By Matt Sieger

When the California Department of Public Health declared on February 19 that high school football could resume in counties with 14 or fewer COVID cases per 100,000 people, one could almost hear a collective whoop getting ready to emanate from the mouths of local high school football players.

When the Solano County COVID-19 rate, which had been at 18.4 cases per 100,000 that day, dipped to 12.4 by the following Tuesday, the football players in the Monticello Empire League let that whoop out full throttle in celebration and put on their cleats to get ready for official practice and for their first games on Friday, March 19.

Source: Vacaville, Vanden, Wood football ready to kick off – The Reporter

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

Solano County partners with VUSD for first Vacaville vaccination clinic – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

As Solano County Public Health continues to host more COVID-19 vaccination clinics throughout the county, one finally came to Vacaville Monday. The agency partnered with Vacaville Unified School District to host one at Markham Elementary School.

Benjamin Gammon, Solano County’s Emergency Medical Services coordinator, said 1,500 people were scheduled to receive the first of two doses of the Moderna vaccine, with the recipients again consisting of individuals in vulnerable populations such as seniors ages 65 or older or with chronic illnesses, first responders and health care workers.

Additionally, there was a doctor in the parking lot where people lined up to sign in. The doctor also worked with the Solano County Office of Emergency Services and Solano County Sheriff’s Office to assist people with mobility issues.

Source: Coronavirus: Solano County partners with VUSD for first Vacaville vaccination clinic – The Reporter

17 Solano students awarded college scholarships – The Reporter

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

Facebook page set up for Vacaville’s Adopt-a-Grad project – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

Parents behind the “Adopt-a-Grad” project for Vacaville’s graduating Class of 2021 now have a dedicated Facebook page for participants.

Get involved at https://www.facebook.com/groups/145062130787424.

The Vacaville High Class of 2021 Parents Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/groups/282089476224609, has more information on that project and others.

Folks in the latter group decided to step up and find a fun way to motivate graduating seniors of all Vacaville high schools, as the pandemic has caused them to lose their final year of high school and all the milestones that come with it.

Source: Facebook page set up for Vacaville’s Adopt-a-Grad project – The Reporter

Uplift a Vacaville graduating senior by “adopting” them – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

With Vacaville public schools still in lockdown due to the pandemic, it’s been a gloomy senior year for the Class of 2021.

The community could be a bright spot in their lives as participants in the “Adopt-a-Grad” project, slated to bring smiles to their faces and add a spring to their steps.

“It’s just an uplifting and really cool thing,” explained Summyr Fien, a project organizer.

The mom of a graduating senior, Fien said she and others saw the heartbreaking losses experienced by last year’s seniors, including dances, prom, football games and just spending their final year with friends.

Source: Uplift a Vacaville graduating senior by “adopting” them – The Reporter

Vacaville students peacefully rally to return to school – The Reporter

By Kimberly K. Fu

For a few hours Wednesday morning, a parking lot at Vacaville High School served as an “outdoor classroom” for an estimated 50 students of all ages.

Camped out with laptops at tables and desks, on tailgates and even on blankets on the ground, students shared a unifying message — Reopen the schools.

“Basically, we just want to get back to class,” said Kyle Fien, 14. “School is not really school.”

Kyle and fellow Vaca High freshmen Brody Fortunati and Micah Navarro, also 14, all said they just want to get back into the groove of learning. Distance learning is hard and there are a lot of distractions, they pointed out. The solution — returning to in-person learning.

Source: Vacaville students peacefully rally to return to school – The Reporter