Bethel High graduates not ‘scared’ of life after high school – Times Herald Online

By Thomas Gase

As students, teachers, family and friends took their seats Friday morning at Corbus Field, large clouds of smoke could be seen in the distance from a fire on Redwood Street.

Within 20 minutes the fire was put out. A few moments later the Jesse Bethel High School Class of 2024 was out as well.

Three hundred and thirty one students are official high school graduates, heading off to the next stages in their life. Of the graduating class, 32 graduated with a grade point average of at least 4.0, while another 19 saw their GPAs above a 3.8.

Source: Bethel High graduates not ‘scared’ of life after high school – Times Herald Online

Vallejo High Class of 2024 goes down new road – Times Herald Online

By Thomas Gase

For the second straight day, Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent William Spalding spoke to a crowd at Corbus Field and quoted from the Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, the Places You Go.”

While the speech was once again inspirational, the path the Vallejo High School Class of 2024 went down had never been seen in any road, alley, avenue or drive in 155 years.

Until now.

The Vallejo High Class of 2024 celebrated commencement with 267 students on Friday. But it was one graduate that stood out – Snaider Barragan Gonzalez, the first Latino male to be named the school’s valedictorian.

Source: Vallejo High Class of 2024 goes down new road – Times Herald Online

FBP’s youth Art Calendar Contest deadline extended through June 17 – Times Herald Online

By Lynzie Lowe

Fighting Back Partnership has extended the deadline for its annual youth Art Calendar Contest through June 17.

“We wanted to extend it a couple more weeks since students will have more time during their summer break,” said Vinessa Huinac, a Family Navigator at Fighting Back Partnership.

The contest has showcased art created by youth in Vallejo for more than 30 years, raising awareness about various themes that directly impact the community, according to Dr. Melvinia Turner King, Executive Director of Fighting Back Partnership.

Source: FBP’s youth Art Calendar Contest deadline extended through June 17 – Times Herald Online

John Finney High School grads overcome their pasts, look towards bright futures – Times Herald Online

Addressing the family, friends, teachers and so many others who helped the John Finney High School Class of 2024 reach graduation day, Valedictorian Daniel Arellanes said, “There isn’t a person on this planet who should let a past nightmare dictate their future.”

That is exactly what these students have done, persevering against all the obstacles and odds against them to make it to this monumental milestone.

Source: John Finney High School grads overcome their pasts, look towards bright futures – Times Herald Online

Widenmann Leadership Academy third graders take top spot in recycling challenge – The Reporter

By Lynzie Lowe

After collecting bottles and cans for a month-long competition to raise money for their classroom, the Solano Resource Conservation District announced Friday that Jennifer Wheelhouse and Melissa Nilson’s classes from Solano Widenmann Leadership Academy in Vallejo were this year’s WE Recycle! Challenge champions.

“Throughout April, students across Solano County collected California Redemption Value (CRV) recyclables in their classrooms, which were brought to local recycling centers to be exchanged for cash,” read the release issued by Solano RCD to announce the winners. “The competition fosters a sense of environmental responsibility and teaches students the importance of recycling.”

Source: Widenmann Leadership Academy third graders take top spot in recycling challenge – The Vacaville Reporter

Vallejo third-graders win recycling challenge | dailyrepublic.com

Third-grade classes from Solano Widenmann Leadership Academy in Vallejo have captured the WERecycle! Challenge.

The month-long competition is held each year by the Solano Resource Conservation District and encourages third-graders to recycle bottles and cans to raise money for their classrooms.

Students in the Widenmann Leadership classrooms of teachers Jennifer Wheelhouse and Melissa Nilson collected 303 pounds of recyclables and raised $420.90.

Source: Vallejo third-graders win recycling challenge | News | dailyrepublic.com

Youth art sough for FBP’s annual Art Calendar Contest – Times Herald Online

By Lynzie Lowe

Friday is the last day for Vallejo youth ages 4-18 to enter Fighting Back Partnership’s annual Art Calendar Contest and have the opportunity to be featured in the Vallejo City Unified School District calendar the 2024-25 school year.

Dr. Melvinia Turner King, Executive Director of Fighting Back Partnership, says the contest, which has been taking place for more than 30 years, started as a way to engage young people by providing them with a creative outlet to share their views on community issues.

Source: Youth art sough for FBP’s annual Art Calendar Contest – Times Herald Online

‘Special’ day returns to Corbus Field – Vacaville Reporter

By Michael Montalvo

The Vallejo City Unified School District hosted its 48th Annual Special Olympics Games on Friday, the first games since 2019.

Over 150 students from kindergarten to 22 years old throughout 10 schools participated in the games at Vallejo High School’s Corbus Field, with events like the 50-yard run, javelin and hurdles. They also had a couple of sections in the middle of the Corbus Field for extra activities for anyone to join and participate in.

Source: ‘Special’ day returns to Corbus Field

Solano County bolsters food relief capacity – The Vacaville Reporter

By Michael Montalvo

The Solano County Board of Supervisors received multiple presentations Tuesday night of accomplishments from recipients of American Rescue Plan Act funds aimed at increasing the capacity to provide emergency food services for Solano County.

In 2021, Solano provided $2 million in direct emergency food provision and $3 million to increase the capacity of agencies to provide that food. Meals on Wheels received the most, with just over $1 million allocated for emergency food provision, and an additional $1.8 million for capacity enhancement.

Tyler Dorman, the Development Manager for Meals on Wheels, presented the board with their achievements since receiving the funding.

Source: Solano County bolsters food relief capacity – The Vacaville Reporter

Vallejo starts pilot program to close Nebraska Street during school hours – Times Herald Online

By Thomas Gase

The Vallejo City Unified School District and the City of Vallejo announced a month-long pilot program designed to address incidents of gun violence on front of Vallejo High School.

The program, set to start on Monday, will close Nebraska Street between Amador and Pierce streets during school hours.

This decision comes after a series of shootings in area between Vallejo and John Finney High schools in the past year and a half. The street will be closed 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days starting on Monday and continuing through June 7. The road will not be closed during weekends and holidays.

Source: Vallejo starts pilot program to close Nebraska Street during school hours – Times Herald Online

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

Supervisors updated on progress of Early Learning Center | dailyrepublic.com

By Todd R. Hansen

The tapestry of an early-learning center and community-resource building could have generational benefits to children, their families and the community.

“And when you think about the threads all … coming together to build this beautiful tapestry, it’s not only about one thread or one string being woven in. But when you think about how we are addressing the various needs of the family, this is a tapestry that strengthens the entire family,” Solano County superintendent of schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson told the Board of Supervisors last week during an update of the project.

Source: Supervisors updated on progress of Early Learning Center | Museums | dailyrepublic.com

Council debates location of ELITE Public schools – Times Herald Online

By David Arias

A crowded Vallejo City Council chambers — including representation from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — saw the welcoming of new Interim City Manager Beverli Marshall and heard of a proposed downtown public charter high school at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell gave a brief welcome to Marshall, warranting a long applause from audience members.

Marshall will be the fourth city manager for the city in a four-year period. Mike Malone, who retired last week, was appointed City Manager in April 2022, following Anne Cardwell and Greg Nyhoff. Cardwell had served as the assistant city manager prior to being appointed interim city manager in July 2021. She resigned three months into the position.

Source: Council debates location of ELITE Public schools – Times Herald Online

State legislative committee OKs school district fiscal health bill – Lake County News

By Elizabeth Larson

Legislation advanced on Wednesday from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would help protect the finances of California public schools faced with the challenge of declining enrollment by extending the authority of local school boards to consider the fiscal impact of new charter school applications.

“When it comes to educating our children, locally elected school boards must decide how our precious resources are spent,” Sen. Dodd said. “They must have the tools to recover from financial setbacks due to declining enrollment and focus their funds where they will have the greatest benefit. I appreciate the committee support for my bill, which will help rebuild strong schools and ensure everyone has access to the best education possible.”

Enrollment in California public schools has declined over the past two decades because of several factors including a declining birth rate and migration from California.

Source: Lake County News,California – State legislative committee OKs school district fiscal health bill

Former St. Helena school district head appointed next schools superintendent for Vallejo – Vallejo Sun

By Scott Morris

Former St. Helena Unified School District Superintendent Rubén Aurelio has been hired as the new superintendent of the Vallejo City Unified School District, the district announced on Wednesday.

Aurelio’s hiring will be effective July 1 and he will succeed Superintendent William Spalding, who is retiring at the end of this school year, the district said in a press release. He was unanimously chosen during a special closed session of the Board of Education on March 16 and his appointment was confirmed this week.

Aurelio previously served in various capacities across nearby districts. For the last two years, he was superintendent of St. Helena Unified, an affluent and high performing but much smaller district in Napa County of 1,199 students, according to his LinkedIn profile. There are about 10,000 students in the Vallejo school district.

Source: Former St. Helena school district head appointed next schools superintendent for Vallejo

Scholarship to honor beloved Vallejo teacher who died last year – Vallejo Sun

By John Glidden

Nancy Orpilla was meant to be a teacher. Described as being patient, calm, and never having a bad word to say about any of her students, Orpilla’s death of cancer last year left a hole in the Vallejo school district that will likely never fully heal.

A beloved 1st grade teacher at Federal Terrace Elementary School, Orpilla died of lung cancer in April 2023. Her family, former colleagues and students are on a mission to support the next generation of teachers with a scholarship fund in her memory.

“Nancy loved being a teacher in Vallejo. She loved her students, she loved her colleagues,” said Orpilla’s husband, Mel Orpilla, who helped spearhead the memorial scholarship to honor his late wife.

Source: Scholarship to honor beloved Vallejo teacher who died last year

Jesse Bethel High School dealing with terrible field, court conditions – Times Herald Online

By Thomas Gase

Jesse Bethel High School baseball players want a field of dreams. What they have is a field of streams.

The Jaguars’ home field has suffered from poor conditions for years, but over the last two years, alarming deteriorations have prompted the team to install a temporary plastic fence that is approximately 230 feet from home plate — leaving around 80 feet of marsh between the new wall and the one that stands beyond it. The water comes from the flooding of a nearby creek at the base of a hill just behind the third base dugout.

When the baseball team held a playoff game last season, Vallejo Sports Hall of Famer and Bethel Physical Education teacher John Baptista’s first words over the P.A. system were, “Welcome to the swamp.”

Source: Jesse Bethel High School dealing with terrible field, court conditions – Times Herald Online

Ruben Aurelio named new Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent – Times Herald Online

By Thomas Gase

The Vallejo City Unified School District has hired Ruben Aurelio as its new superintendent.

The district’s Board of Education announced Aurelio’s hiring at Wednesday night’s regularly scheduled meeting. Aurelio will replace William Spalding, who announced he will retire on June 30.

“I am thrilled and honored to work with our Board of Trustees in the Vallejo City Unified School District,” Aurelio stated in a news release. “One aspect of VCUSD that drew my attention was the commitment to equitable outcomes for all students. So much so that the district has purposefully named it as the first pillar in their strategic plan. I’ve spent the majority of my career fighting for equitable outcomes. Vallejo feels like home.”

Source: Ruben Aurelio named new Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent – Times Herald Online

Vallejo school district, educator union reach pay agreement after impasse – Vallejo Sun

By Zack Haber

Following about five months of bargaining and two days negotiating with the help of a state appointed mediator, Vallejo’s teachers union ratified an agreement with the city’s school district this week.

The agreement between the Vallejo Education Association (VEA) and the Vallejo City Unified School District gives 470 teachers and other certificated school staff like nurses and counselors a 5.5% salary increase, bonuses, and increased contributions to medical health plans and stipends for union members.

Source: Vallejo school district, educator union reach pay agreement after impasse

Vallejo Planning Commission approves controversial downtown charter school – Vallejo Sun

The Vallejo Planning Commission approved a plan to open a charter school in a vacant downtown office building on Monday, despite complaints from some residents that the building is not big enough for the planned school and that a school is incompatible with the city’s plan for the neighborhood to be an arts and entertainment district.

The planning commission voted 6-1 to approve the proposal by Elite Public Schools to convert the 34,819-square-foot office building that spans a half-block of Georgia Street between Santa Clara and Sacramento streets into a 400-student high school.

Source: Vallejo Planning Commission approves controversial downtown charter school