VUSD board to hear proposed changes to Independent Study Progam – The Vacaville Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Know a child who might thrive in an alternative course of study rather than a traditional public school setting?

Then you may want to attend tonight’s Vacaville Unified trustees meeting in Vacaville.

During the public gathering, board members will hear about proposed and recommended changes to the independent study portion of the Ernest Kimme Charter Academy, making it a district-operated program.

Source: VUSD board to hear proposed changes to Independent Study Progam – The Vacaville Reporter

On National Teachers’ Day, reflections from VUSD’s Teacher of the Year – The Vacaville Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The first thing Vaca Pena Middle School teacher Jayne Geist wants you to know about why she became a teacher is the ability to give a full measure of devotion to her students.

And “being there for them if they need a ‘listening ear,’ ” she said during an interview Tuesday, National Teacher Appreciation Day, in her classroom at the 200 Keith Way campus.

The 2023-24 Vacaville Unified Teacher of the Year, Geist and other district teachers will acknowledge the national observance on Wednesday, which continues through Friday for their counterparts across the county, state and 49 other states during Teacher Appreciation Week. It’s a chance for students, parents and communities to show gratitude for teachers everywhere.

Source: On National Teachers’ Day, reflections from VUSD’s Teacher of the Year – The Vacaville Reporter

Op-Ed: SB1380 Threatens access to critical public school options in California | dailyrepublic.com

Should school districts that have a history of fiscal mismanagement be able to block alternative schools? Senator Dodd (D-Napa) thinks so. Senator Bill Dodd has introduced SB 1380, a bill that proposes significant amendments to the California Charter Schools Act (Ed Code 47605). If Dodd’s bill became law, it would make it even easier for a school district to deny new charter schools. Currently, there is a long list of reasons school districts can deny charters, and Dodd’s bill would add several more – a school district could claim continued fiscal hardship for five years after it has resolved its state oversight for financial mismanagement.

Charter schools were established in California in 1992 to foster innovation, encourage competition, and offer families high-quality educational choices within the public education system. However, SB 1380 appears to undermine fundamental tenets by empowering school districts with a history of fiscal issues to limit innovation and competition.

Source: Op-Ed: SB1380 Threatens access to critical public school options in California | Local Columns | dailyrepublic.com

Alamo Elementary Triumphs in Novel Knowledge – The Vacaville Reporter

By Michael Montalvo

Alamo Elementary School took home the gold for the seventh time at Vacaville Unified School District’s Novel Knowledge competition on Tuesday.

Vaca Pena Middle School hosted the 21st annual event, with 11 school teams in the finals, being quizzed on facts from eight books covering various reading levels, including fiction and nonfiction stories.

Once again, Alamo Elementary secured the top spot with its team, the Too Good For a Name’ers, only getting one question wrong. Grace Ruther, Haven Cooney, and the sibling duo of Anna and Andrew Ton, all sixth graders, triumphantly claimed the grand trophy.

Source: Alamo Elementary Triumphs in Novel Knowledge – The Vacaville Reporter

Fun ‘color run’ for autism awareness and a Vaca park – The Vacaville Reporter

By Richard Bammer

As students, parents, relatives ran or walked by the southern end of an oval outdoor track, Alexander Valencia and other youths tossed handfuls of turquoise, orange and pink powder into the air and onto runners and walkers.

Not the day of Holi, the festival of colours, love and spring in India, it was the Just Different Not Less 2024 Autism Run already well underway at Jepson Middle School in Vacaville.

Source: Fun ‘color run’ for autism awareness and a Vaca park – The Vacaville Reporter

Vacaville district leaders to consider after-school learning contracts – The Vacaville Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified School District leaders, will use Thursday’s meeting to consider after-school learning contracts totaling nearly $3 million — money from the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program budget — for several district elementary schools.

Administrators will ask trustees to approve two contracts for the 2024-25 academic year.

One is “Right at School,” budgeted for an amount not to exceed $2 million. It will provide enrichment programming and staffing not only for the expanded learning program, but also for After School Education Safety programs at Cooper, Markham, Padan, Fairmont, Hemlock, Orchard and Sierra Vista K-8. The service provider is Right at School, a company based in Evanston, Ill.

Source: Vacaville district leaders to consider after-school learning contracts – The Vacaville Reporter

Vacaville student receives $5K scholarship | dailyrepublic.com

Joseph Bernard of Vacaville was awarded the $5,000 Stitt Family Aeronautics, Aerospace & Aviation Scholarship on April 8.

Bernard is a student from Elise P. Buckingham Charter School.

This scholarship seeks to support students who are pursuing the field of aeronautical engineering, aerospace or aviation and need financial assistance.

Source: Good News: Vacaville student receives $5K scholarship | Vacaville-Dixon-Winters | dailyrepublic.com

Charter schools concerned about Dodd’s advancing legislation | dailyrepublic.com

By Todd R. Hansen

Charter schools such as Kairos Public Schools in Vacaville are concerned with state legislation that on Wednesday cleared the Senate Education Committee.

Senate Bill 1380 provides an additional five years for school districts coming out of receivership to use the potential of fiscal impacts of a new charter school to deny those applications. Districts in receivership already have that authority, which Vallejo City Unified School District used in 2022 to deny Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy from adding a high school to its K-8 school.

Districts receive funding based on their average daily student attendance, so new schools could pull students away from those already troubled districts.

Source: Charter schools concerned about Dodd’s advancing legislation | News | dailyrepublic.com

Vacaville PD recognized outstanding personnel, volunteers during awards ceremony – The Vacaville Reporter

By Lynzie Lowe

Vacaville Chief of Police Ian Schmutzler said School Resource Officer Sean Kelly, a member of the Youth Services Section, has excelled in his role at Will C. Wood High School.

“Will C. Wood has nearly 1700 students enrolled, and Officer Kelly makes it a priority to get to know each of them as well as maintain a professional relationship with every staff member on campus,” said Schmutzler. “Officer Kelly excels in communication and always ensures he is available to collaborate and consult with members of Vacaville Unified School District Safety Team as well as the campus administration team at WCW making himself accessible 24-hours a day, not just during the school day.”

Source: Vacaville PD recognized outstanding personnel, volunteers during awards ceremony – The Vacaville Reporter

VUSD board agenda: Initial contract proposals for support staff – The Vacaville Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville Unified School District officials and the president of the district’s classified employees union will lay out initial collective bargaining proposals for the fiscal years 2024-26 during a regular governing board meeting Thursday night.

The district’s director of human resources, Lynn Benevides, will release pay and contract language for the classified, or school-support, employees. They include bus drivers, food service workers, custodians, nurses, and clerks.

The district wants to negotiate language in nine contract articles, among them union rights, hours and overtime, health and welfare benefits, leaves and vacancies.

Source: On VUSD board agenda: Initial contract proposals for support staff – The Vacaville Reporter

Retired Vacaville teacher gets a buzz out of bees | dailyrepublic.com

By Todd R. Hansen

Students in Rick Moehrke’s third- and fourth-grade classes at Markham or Cooper elementary schools likely remember his in-class, silkworm demonstrations.

It was his way to give the students a peek into the natural world Moehrke has been lured to since he was a youngster.

So it should be no surprise that with a chance meeting with Clay Ford, operator of Clay’s Bees and owner of Pleasants Valley Honey Company, that Moehrke would be stung by another curiosity – bees.

Source: Retired Vacaville teacher gets a buzz out of bees | News | dailyrepublic.com

Sign-ups open for sixth-grade marching band at Vaca Pena – The Vacaville Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Registration is now open for the Sixth-Grade Marching Band Academy at Vaca Pena Middle School, beginning in the fall.

This new program was developed and spearheaded by Colleen Moe, principal of Vaca Pena Middle School; Catherine Bozzini, Vacaville Unified School District’s director of elementary education; Ali Eeds, VUSD director of secondary education; and Melinda Ellis, VUSD music coordinator.

It is open to student who will be sixth graders at the beginning of the 2024-25 academic year. To register a student for for the program, visit bit.ly/VacaPenaMarchingBandAcademy. The deadline to register is March 22.

Source: Sign-ups open for sixth-grade marching band at Vaca Pena – The Vacaville Reporter

State IDs Kairos as ‘high-performing school’ – The Vacaville Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Kairos Public Schools has been identified by state officials as one of only two Solano County charter schools deemed “high-performing.”

Executive Director Jared Austin made the announcement in a news release and also identified Dixon Montessori Charter School as the other similarly designated school.

He said the California Department of Education recently released the Charter School Performance Indicator, a high-stakes assessment determining the effectiveness of charter schools.

Source: State IDs Kairos as ‘high-performing school’ – The Vacaville Reporter

At Vaca Pena, Holocaust survivor story comes to life in vivid detail – Times Herald Online

By Richard Bammer

It is sometimes difficult to understand the Holocaust in the abstract, but when we read, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” or hear a survivor’s story, the World War II era of the systematic killing of 6 million European Jews and others comes into full and vivid focus.

And the smallest details become riveting, because each one, in its own way, can be seen as keystone to survival during a horrifying time in world history.

This was certainly the case for Liz Igra, 89, of Sacramento.

Source: At Vaca Pena, Holocaust survivor story comes to life in vivid detail – Times Herald Online

Vaca Pena Marching Band Academy opens registration for sixth-graders | dailyrepublic.com

A new sixth-grade Marching Band Academy at Vaca Pena Middle School begins this fall and registrations is open to next year’s sixth-grade students.

The program is limited to a small cohort of 60-64 students and will focus on daily music instruction. Students can still participate in middle school extracurricular activities, have earlier access to advanced coursework, and participate in three marching band competitions during the school year.

The VUSD School Board approved the addition of a Sixth Grade Music Academy with a Marching Band focus at Vaca Pena at the February school board meeting. The Academy will allow students to develop a love of performance and will contribute to the long-term participation in school band program.

Source: Vaca Pena Marching Band Academy opens registration for sixth-graders | Education | dailyrepublic.com

Army visits Vacaville High with a ‘teaching vehicle,’ recruiting in mind – The Vacaville Reporter

By Richard Bammer

It wasn’t the iconic “I Want You for the U.S. Army” poster by James Montgomery Flagg, with the top-hatted, gray-haired and stern-looking Uncle Sam pointing his finger at anyone who looked his way.

Instead it was the Army Mobile Medical Exhibit parked Monday morning in a Vacaville High School parking lot off West Monte Vista Avenue.

Black and sleek, a massive, eye-popping polished recruiting tool for the U.S. Army, it was a semi tractor-trailer with medical simulation equipment and experiences, digital and hands-on, inside.

Source: Army visits Vacaville High with a ‘teaching vehicle,’ recruiting in mind – The Vacaville Reporter

2024 Middle Schools to Watch – Year 2024 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has announced that 52 high-performing California middle grades schools have been recognized as California Schools to Watch for 2024. To earn this designation, schools must complete an extensive application and host a site visit by middle grades experts. To retain the designation, each school is reevaluated every three years.

There are 16 new California Schools to Watch this year. An additional 36 schools reapplied to the program, demonstrated their sustained progress, and have been redesignated as 2024 California Schools to Watch. Altogether, there are 200 California Schools to Watch.

Source: 2024 Middle Schools to Watch – Year 2024 (CA Dept of Education)

Celebrating reading, learning and having fun – The Vacaville Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Isabella Bautista, 9, loves to read “Dork Diaries,” a children’s book series.

“It’s about a girl who’s going through life,” said Isabella, referring to the 14-year-old protagonist, Nikki Maxwell, in stories by Rachel Renee Russell, written and illustrated in a diary format and also uses drawings, doodles and comic strips to tell the tale.

Speaking in Megan Coxe’s third-grade classroom on Friday at Callison Elementary, Isabella relished the day, because it was Literacy Character Day, part of National Read Across America Day. Created by the National Education Association, it is a day to encourage children to read and to inspire lifelong learning.

Source: Celebrating reading, learning and having fun – The Vacaville Reporter

Community members come together for a day of reading | dailyrepublic.com

By Susan Hiland

Students at Jean Callison Elementary School were immersed in literacy this week as part of Read Across America.

The big finale on Friday was Literacy Character Day, which was a special event promoting the love of reading and lifelong learning, according to Principal Kacey Ramos.

Each year, National Read Across America Day is celebrated on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. The annual event is part of Read Across America, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association.

Source: Community members come together for a day of reading | Education | dailyrepublic.com

Vacaville Unified releases schedules for 2024-2026 – The Vacaville Reporter

The Vacaville Unified School District released its yearly calendars for the 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 academic years on Wednesday, allowing families with students the ability to plan ahead regarding their child’s education.

The 2024-2025 year will begin on Aug. 15 and end on June 5. The 2025-2026 school year will begin Aug.14 and end June 4.

In 2024-2025, winter break will begin on Dec. 19 and end on Jan. 5. In 2025-2026, winter break will begin on Dec. 20 and end on Jan. 6. Spring Break in 2025 will be April 18-25, and April 3-10 in 2026.

Source: Vacaville Unified releases schedules for 2024-2026 – The Vacaville Reporter