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

Vaca Peña Middle school earns recognition | dailyrepublic.com

Vaca Peña Middle School was recently honored by the California League of Educators with its coveted “Schools to Watch” Award for 2024 according to a press release from the school.

This is an honor bestowed to a select group of middle schools. The sites must complete an extensive application process followed up by a host site visit conducted by a collection of top education experts. Schools are judged on various criteria such as academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, organizational structure and process, and social equity before they receive the designation ‘School to Watch.’

Source: Good News: Vaca Peña Middle school earns recognition | Education | dailyrepublic.com

Vaca High graduate is new member of Navy Ceremonial Guard | dailyrepublic.com

Nathan Pallares, a 2023 Vacaville High School graduate, has completed his 10-week training program and now serves in the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard.

A fireman, Pallares joined the Navy six months ago.

“I joined the Navy to better my life and future,” Pallares said in a story released through the Navy Office of Community Outreach.

The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard is the official honor guard of the U.S. Navy. Established in 1931, it is based at Naval District Washington Anacostia Annex in Washington, D.C.

Source: Vaca High graduate is new member of Navy Ceremonial Guard | News | dailyrepublic.com

VUSD students participate in state honor choir | dailyrepublic.com

Two students from Vacaville Unified School District auditioned and were selected to participate in the prestigious California All-State Honor Choir.

Johnathan Burton Jr. and Aria Mehta, both freshmen at Will C. Wood High School, were chosen to represent the district at last weekend’s gathering.

The choir brings together young vocalists from all across the state, showcasing their talents in a culminating performance at the Sacramento Memorial auditorium.

Source: VUSD students participate in state honor choir | Singing | dailyrepublic.com

Vaca Peña Middle School makes the grade – The Vacaville Reporter

By Thomas Gase

Vaca Peña Middle School is hitting all the top marks.

The school was honored this week by the California League of Educators with its coveted “Schools to Watch” Award for 2024. The award is given to a select group of middle schools. In order to qualify, the sites must complete an extensive application process followed up by a host site visit conducted by a collection of top education experts.

Schools are judged on various criteria such as academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, organizational structure and process, and social equity before they receive the designation “School to Watch.”

Source: Vaca Peña Middle School makes the grade – The Vacaville Reporter

Monticello Empire League to add three schools, lose two – The Vacaville Reporter

By Nick McConnell

Sports schedules will look a little different next year for Vacaville, Will C. Wood and Vanden high schools as the Monticello Empire league undergoes realignment for the first time in six years.

Armijo and Fairfield will leave the MEL, said Associate Superintendent Sasha Begell at a recent Vacaville Unified School District Board of Trustees meeting, and Woodland’s Pioneer, West Sacramento’s River City and Sacramento High will be joining the league. The league will have these members for the next four years, she said, at which point realignment will be considered again.

Equity of competition is the most important factor in realignment decisions, Begell said, with scope and diversity of programs and size of school also holding weight. Travel distance is considered as well, she said.

Source: Monticello Empire League to add three schools, lose two – The Vacaville Reporter

Two Will C. Wood singers garner All-State honors – The Vacaville Reporter

By Nick McConnell

Two Will C. Wood High School Freshmen were selected for the annual California All-State Honor Choir, which held its performance in Sacramento on Sunday. Johnathan Burton Jr. and Aria Mehta were selected to represent the Vacaville Unified School District at the event.

“Johnathan and Aria are dedicated, mature, and service-oriented singers,” said Colby Hawkins, Choral Director at Will C. Wood. “I’m so grateful to have them in our choir program, and for the opportunity they have to learn, grow, and perform this weekend at All-State. They’ll return with new insight, technique, and experience that will help elevate all of us.”

Source: Two Will C. Wood singers garner All-State honors – The Vacaville Reporter

Honor Choir – Will C. Wood | dailyrepublic.com

Two Will C. Wood High School Freshmen Excel at California All State Honor Choir

Sacramento, CA – Sat, Feb 3, 2024

Two exceptionally talented students from Vacaville Unified School District auditioned and were selected to participate in the prestigious California All State Honor Choir. Johnathan Burton Jr. and Aria Mehta, both freshmen at Will C. Wood High School, were chosen to represent the district at this distinguished annual musical event.

Source: honor choir | | dailyrepublic.com

Vacaville City Council hear update on youth services – The Vacaville Reporter

By Nick McConnell

The Vacaville City Council heard an update on youth services in the city and allocated $240,500 in funds to Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday evening.

The Vacaville Police Department’s Youth Services Section, which operates the Police Activities League and conducts youth outreach for the city, provided a presentation to the City on its operations. Including four school resource officers, two mental health coordinators and a team of interns, the department interact with schools, kids and families.

The group’s involvement in VUSD includes anti drug programs, gang intervention and prevention, anger management courses, parent interaction and counseling services.

Source: Vacaville City Council hear update on youth services – The Vacaville Reporter

Will C. Wood’s Wudel leaving his mark as one of the state’s winningest boys basketball coaches | dailyrepublic.com

By Matt Miller

Mark Wudel continues to roll on as one of Solano County’s winningest high school boys basketball coaches.

Although he recently retired from teaching and is 66 years old, he’s not ready to walk away.

“I have no plans to give it up,” Wudel said. “It’s too much fun. I plan on coaching for years as long as they let me keep doing it.”

Source: Will C. Wood’s Wudel leaving his mark as one of the state’s winningest boys basketball coaches | Sport | dailyrepublic.com

VUSD seats Amy Tran Russell as new trustee – The Vacaville Reporter

By Nick McConnell

Amy Tran Russell, winner of December’s Vacaville Unified School District Area 6 special election, was sworn in as a board trustee once again on Thursday.

Russell was removed from her post after being initially appointed to it last year. Enough voters in Area 6 signed a petition circulated by Vacaville Parents United to force a special election, but Russell defeated opponent Tracee Stacy at the ballot box in December. Russell, 43, a senior assistant dean at University of California, Davis, was seeking elected office for the first time.

Russell, sworn in by Superintendent Ed Santopadre, said she was honored to be taking the post, and was impressed by the high voter turnout for a special election, saying it showed that Vacaville residents are invested in education in their community. She recognized the hard work of her opponent and her supporters, saying the community does better when everyone is connected and empathetic with one another.

Source: VUSD seats Amy Tran Russell as new trustee – The Vacaville Reporter

Vacaville Teacher of the Year honored |  dailyrepublic.com

Karen Hamrick, the lead custodian at Ernest Kimme Charter Academy and the Muzetta Thrower Adult Education Center, was honored as the Vacaville Unified School District’s Classified Employee of the Year.

The Teacher of the Year was teacher Jayne Geist, Vaca Peña Middle School English and leadership teacher.

Hamrick, a 17-year employee with the VUSD, handles the custodial duties at the two campuses and teaches the Introduction to Custodial Training Course at Adult Ed, according to a press release from the school.

Source: Vacaville Teacher of the Year honored | Education | dailyrepublic.com