Solano Registrar of Voters certifies election results – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

The results are set in all Solano County elections, with new faces guaranteed to join governing bodies throughout the county.

Tim Flanagan, registrar of voters, certified the results Tuesday which will now head to the Solano County Board of Supervisors to be officially adopted at its Dec. 8 meeting.

The Vacaville City Council will have four new members on its expanded seven-member board, following the city’s switch to districts. In the newly created District 1, Roy Stockton, a sergeant with the Solano County Sheriff’s Office, will be joining the council. He received 37.98 percent of the vote, ahead of retired attorney Wendy Breckon at 25.99 percent, Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Shawn McMahon at 24.05 percent and Contra Costa Water District Supervisor Matthew Brock at 11.97 percent.

Source: Solano Registrar of Voters certifies election results – The Reporter

Welsh, Kitzes keep their leads in Vacaville Unified races – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In early mail-in ballot returns, Kelly Welsh and Michael Kitzes jumped out to significant leads and held them later in the late-evening hours Tuesday in the Vacaville Unified races for areas 6 and 7, respectively, in the school district’s first-ever by-area election.

At 11:32 p.m., the Solano County Registrar of Voters, in a fourth update and posting, with some Election Day ballots counted, reported that Welsh had gained 2,322 votes, or 57 percent of some 4,098 votes cast, and Tracee Stacy, a current governing board member and publisher, trailed with 1,776, or 43 percent, of the total at the time.

“I feel pretty good at this time,” Welsh, an attorney and mother of two, said after the first ballot tabulation and post. “I would say that I’m definitely encouraged by the level of support that I’m receiving.”

Source: Welsh, Kitzes keep their leads in Vacaville Unified races – The Reporter

Solano County high school music students miss playing together – The Reporter

By Matt Sieger

Mary Poppins barely got her feet off the ground.

In March the Will C. Wood High pit orchestra had completed just one performance of its spring musical when the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down.

“It was devastating because all this time and effort into this huge performance and we got through this one show and they say we can’t do it anymore,” recalled senior viola player Reagan Cargill. “We had a few weeks or months where we just had no idea what was going on. It was very confusing and stressful.”

Source: Coronavirus: Solano County high school music students miss playing together – The Reporter

Vacaville schools announce tentative reopening dates for hybrid model – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

The Vacaville Unified School District has tentatively announced dates students will return to campus for a hybrid learning model, although the dates are dependent on how Solano County deals with COVID-19 numbers.

In a post on the district’s Facebook page, VUSD officials wrote that the district was currently finalizing agreements for safety and working conditions with the Vacaville Teachers Association and Service Employees International Union.

Special education students at the elementary level are tentatively scheduled to return to campuses Nov. 16. Students in pre-kindergarten through second grade will possibly return Dec. 1, and those in third through 12th grade would return Jan. 4.

Source: Coronavirus: Vacaville schools announce tentative reopening dates for hybrid model – The Reporter

Better than mom’s? New food program in Vacaville is a hit with students – KCRA 3

By Leticia Ordaz

The Vacaville Unified School District is not back for in-person learning yet, but schools are still serving up thousands of meals, twice a day. And a new food program is proving to be a big hit with students.

School officials at Willis Jepson Middle School on Wednesday are handing out meals with recipes that some kids said is tastier than mom’s cooking. The secret is everything is made from scratch for both breakfast and lunch.

School officials said the new menu change is important because nearly half of the student population is considered low income and qualifies for free or reduced meals.

Source: Better than mom’s? New food program in Vacaville is a hit with students

Kairos returns for in-person learning – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

After seven whole months of students learning from home, the Kairos Public Schools Vacaville Academy was once again bustling with students, albeit with social distancing protocols in place.

Kairos resumed in-person classes Tuesday for students who wished to return, which amounted to about 78 percent of them. Despite the fact that it was 10 weeks into the school year on a brisk October morning, there was definitely the feeling of a back-to-school day, complete with Kairos’ middle school ambassadors welcoming back the younger students with signs.

There were also indicators that this year on campus would begin differently than previous years, such as barriers at the desks, shorter recesses and a socially distanced physical education class where students did their stretches while spaced 6 feet apart.

Source: Coronavirus: Kairos returns for in-person learning – The Reporter

3 Solano teachers make cut to take part in specialized program – Daily Republic

Three teachers at Solano County schools are among 32 selected in California to take part in Epic’s 2021 Master Teacher Ambassador Program, the digital children’s reading company announced.

Laura Obando from Fairview Elementary School in Fairfield along with Sofia Calderon from Alamo Elementary in Vacaville and Caitlin Abbate from Notre Dame School in Vacaville were selected from among hundreds of applicants from 37 states and 20 countries, according to a press release from Epic.

The digital reading platform reaches more than 20 million schoolchildren who are 12 or younger, according to the press release.

Source: 3 Solano teachers make cut to take part in specialized program

Cooper Elementary student leads virtual pledge in video series – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Schools in Vacaville may have moved to virtual learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the tradition of placing one’s right hand upon their hearts and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance has continued.

At Cooper Elementary School, one student has led the pledge through a series of videos, all filmed in front of flags in different locations.

Fifth-grader Keegan Pierce has been filmed leading the pledge in areas ranging from the Vacaville Police Department to Disneyland. The videos started off each school day for the student body, just as the pledge would during a typical in-person school day.

Source: Cooper Elementary student leads virtual pledge in video series – The Reporter

Solano Office of Education honors top educators – Daily Republic

The Solano County Office of Education on Wednesday celebrated all the certificated and classified employees nominated as part of the Educators of the Year program.

“The video highlights that honor each nominee in this year’s virtual celebration are truly heartwarming. Solano County’s certificated and classified employees of the year nominees are all passionate and committed people who have put their colleagues and students first. We are so proud to recognize each honoree with a video celebration of their dedication and hard work,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement.

Source: Solano Office of Education honors top educators

SCOE honors employee of the year nominees – The Reporter

BY Richard Bammer

Solano schools’ common mission to support, educate and graduate students was in high relief Wednesday when the Solano County Office of Education held an online celebration for a select group of school-support employees and teachers.

Every year, school districts countywide nominate one teacher and one classified employee to be recognized as an Educator of the Year.

The prerecorded celebration, which got underway at 3 p.m. and made necessary because of the ongoing pandemic, was a salute to six classified employees and seven teachers and paraeducators.

Source: SCOE honors employee of the year nominees – The Reporter

Former VUSD trustee ‘Whit’ Whitman, 77, dies – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Horace Tufts “Whit” Whitman was a former Air Force officer and former commercial airlines pilot who, in retirement, became a fierce advocate for public education.

He served on the Vacaville Unified governing board for nine years, his tenure ending in 2018, and was known for his strong opinions but also his generosity of time, spirit and money related to school district matters.

Whitman, 77 and a native of the Upper Midwest, had battled depression for some time and committed suicide Sunday, said family spokeswoman and sister-in-law Lois Chancellor. District officials on Monday also reported information about his death on the VUSD website.

Source: Former VUSD trustee ‘Whit’ Whitman, 77, dies – The Reporter

Vacaville teachers who lost homes in fires keep on teaching – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

Sara Bryan was set to begin a new life in August. She had recently moved from Martinez to her boyfriend’s house on Pleasants Valley Road in Winters and began teaching fifth grade at Orchard Elementary School.

Only three days into the school year, Bryan and her boyfriend had to evacuate with their home being destroyed in the LNU Lightning Complex Fire.

Brenda Hensley, a math teacher at Will C. Wood High School, also had to leave her home in Berryessa Highlands with her husband, cat and assorted belongings. Their home also burned down.

Source: Vacaville teachers who lost homes in fires keep on teaching – The Reporter

Vacaville teachers endorse local, county education candidates – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The 800-member Vacaville Teachers Association on Thursday announced its endorsements for four seats on the Vacaville Unified governing board, two for the Solano County Office of Education board and a City Council candidate who currently serves as a district trustee.

By occupation, the seven candidates range from an incumbent and an administrator at Travis Federal Credit Union to an attorney and a physician, among others.

In a press release, union president Todd Blanset, an English teacher at Will C. Wood High, said the ratification vote was held Tuesday, with final selections coming after “a long and exhaustive process.”

Source: Vacaville teachers endorse local, county education candidates – The Reporter

Retired music teachers’ Vacaville home lost to fire – Times-Herald

By Richard Freedman

A stunning 1949 Riley motorcar charred to the frame. Another British auto, a 1959 Morris Minor, also incinerated. And, lastly and just as ghastly, a 1967 MGB. Also history.

Three classic cars — and the home — of John and Patty Phillips burned to the ground by the LNU Lightning Complex Fire along with plenty of memories.

Yet, the retired Vacaville Unified School District music instructors — John still performs with the Vallejo Symphony Orchestra — remained grateful with all lives spared, including the family’s four cats and a dog.

Source: Retired music teachers’ Vacaville home lost to fire – Times-Herald

Students reaping benefits of P.E. distance learning – The Reporter

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

Vaca High teens host donation drive for fire victims – The Reporter

BY Kimberly K. Fu

The LNU Lightning Complex Fire was a personal tragedy for two Vacaville High School teens, as people they cared about had escaped with their lives but lost everything else.

So Zanna Rosenquist, 17, and Lauren Gammon, 16, organized a donation drive to help make the burdens of fire victims a little lighter.

“We wanted to help out the families who are stuck in hotels or wherever they’re staying,” Lauren advised. “It’s not just for people who lost their homes. It’s for everyone. We’re just wanting to give them a break.”

Source: Vaca High teens host donation drive for fire victims – The Reporter

Imagine That! program provides learning, socialization – Daily Republic

By Amy Maginnis-Honey

Imagine That!, a science, technology, engineering, arts and math museum for children of all ages, has turned its main exhibit area into a classroom hosting 30 kindergartners through sixth-graders.

The desks are separated by 6 feet, temperatures are checked daily and all wear a mask.

When it’s time for recess, the children are welcome to explore some of the exhibits and take a spin on The Spinner, which is comparable to having your own merry-go-round.

Source: Imagine That! program provides learning, socialization

Vaca educator, Mike ‘Sully’ Sullivan, 63, dies – The Reporter

BY Richard Bammer

Mike Sullivan, a former Reporter sports editor and writer who also found a calling as a longtime educator, coach and student mentor at Vacaville High School, remembered by many who knew him as selfless and having a significant impact on their lives, died Sunday with wife Kelle at his side in his Vacaville home.

He was 63 and had been in failing health for some years, his son, Buck, said.Mike Sullivan, former Vacaville Reporter Sports Editor and educator.

Born into an Air Force family, “Sully,” as he was affectionately known, graduated from Vacaville High in 1974. While in school, he played football, wrestled and competed in track and field. With the exception of a few short breaks, Sullivan largely lived the remainder of his life in Vacaville, his son said.

Source: Vaca educator, coach, student mentor, former journalist Mike ‘Sully’ Sullivan, 63, dies – The Reporter

Bay Area fires: Here’s what’s closed due to unhealthy air, wildfires – ABC7

The Solano County School District announced Wednesday the following will remain closed for the rest of the week.

  • Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
  • Travis Unified School District
  • Vacaville Unified School District
  • SCOE-operated programs

This is in response to widespread evacuations, power outages and unhealthy air quality.

The districts said they will also be providing meals for students to the extent possible and will communicate with families about the availability of school meal service, but it may change throughout the week due to unforeseen circumstance. According to its press release, Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District will be providing boxes of food with several meals for the week. Families will be notified of locations.

Source: Bay Area fires: Here’s what’s closed due to unhealthy air, wildfires – ABC7 San Francisco

Distance learning in place as Vacaville students, teachers begin new year – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

For the fifth year in a row, Orchard Elementary School teacher Jaxie Murray greeted her new class of kindergarteners, sang songs with them and had them do activities.

The difference this year is that she had to do all of that through her computer screen.

Vacaville Unified School District students returned Monday for the 2020-21 school year, a traditional rite of passage that serves as a new start for students each year. This year took that concept to another level. Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Vacaville campuses remain closed for the time being, but students continue to attend classes through distance learning. By order of Gov. Gavin Newsom, schools in counties on the state’s watchlist for COVID-19 cases must start the year with distance learning and remain in the model until the county has been off the watchlist for 14 consecutive days.

Source: Coronavirus: Distance learning in place as Vacaville students, teachers begin new year – The Reporter