VCUSD partnering with Touro for vaccination programs – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Although the Vallejo City Unified School District is not requiring COVID-19 vaccinations in order to attend in-person instruction, the district has partnered once again Touro University’s Mobile Program to ensure all members of the community have access to the vaccine.

Both groups have collaborated to organize vaccination clinics directly on a few school campuses. This is the district’s last push for vaccinations prior to the startup of the 2021-22 school year.

“Vaccinations are not required, for students or teachers, but we are encouraging vaccination for all who are eligible,” VCUSD spokesperson Stephen Nichols said. “Masks are required for indoor instruction and activities, per CDPH guidelines.”

Source: Vallejo City Unified School District partnering with Touro for vaccination programs – Times-Herald

Jesse Bethel High replaces Cusi with Wollenweber as principal – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Kirsten Wollenweber has been named the new Jesse Bethel High principal and will replace Dr. Ramon Cusi, who decided recently to resign for “personal reasons” after three years at the helm.

Wollenweber comes to the school with a lot of experience, having been the associated principal at Pittsburg High for the past two years. She began her career at Pittsburg in 1999 at Foothill Elementary where she worked as a teacher and an Early Literacy Coach. She became an administrator in 2004 with the Albany Unified School District. In 2007 she was an assistant principal at Pittsburg High School, and in 2011 was appointed Principal of Marina Vista Elementary School.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Santa Barbara, her master’s degree in educational leadership and her administrative services credential from St. Mary’s College.

Source: Jesse Bethel High replaces Cusi with Wollenweber as principal – Times-Herald

Jesse Bethel Class of 2021 ready to party – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

When giving his speech Friday morning, Jesse Bethel valedictorian Ethan Shull decided to quote the late Scott Heinecke — a longtime teacher and coach at the school who passed away recently:

“Work hard and party even harder.”

The last four years, the Bethel Class of 2021 navigated through numerous difficult situations. On Friday morning at Corbus Field, however, it was finally time to party.

Three-hundred forty-four Jaguar students graduated in a two-part ceremony divided by last names due to COVID-19 safety reasons with maximum occupancy. Although many students wished it could have been done in one ceremony, all of the graduates seemed to be thrilled to have the chance to have a more normal ceremony a year after the 2020 class received its diplomas in a drive-thru parking lot event.

Source: Jesse Bethel Class of 2021 ready to party – Times-Herald

Vallejo High School Class of 2021 embraces its destiny – Times-Herald

By Katy St. Clair

Graduation Day is always a time to celebrate, and the students of Vallejo High School could not have asked for a more perfect day on Thursday as they took to the stage to grab their diplomas and grasp a whole new future.

Most of the grads were born in 2003, the year the Iraq War began, Martha Stewart was indicted for insider trading, “Finding Nemo” was released, and 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” dominated the charts. Now they are emerging in a world where the internet is an even larger part of their lives, Tik Tok rules, and BTS and K-Pop have millions of United States fans.

The school’s Class of 2021 consists of 291 graduates, with 53 students (18 percent) graduating with the Golden State Seal Merit, showing “mastery” of at least six high school subjects.

Source: Vallejo High School Class of 2021 embraces its destiny – Times-Herald

Aevril Figueroa is Vallejo High valedictorian – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Vallejo High School senior Aevril Figueroa envisions a job and a future for herself in architecture. For now, she’s building up quite a resume, including the latest addition: Class Valedictorian.

Figueroa is the top student in the Class of 2021, just four years after moving to Vallejo from Daly City and the Philippines before that.

“I’m in disbelief since I learned I was valedictorian,” Figueroa said. “I didn’t think I would win it and I almost didn’t believe it until one of my friends who is a salutatorian told me it was true. But I’m still kind of in disbelief right now.”

Source: Aevril Figueroa is Vallejo High valedictorian – Times-Herald

Vallejo High wrestler Maylin Reyes signs with Elmira College – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

Like most of her fellow classmates, Vallejo High senior wrestler Maylin Reyes did not have the typical prep career due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Reyes, however, also did not have the quintessential four years due to a serious eye injury.

The 17-year-old put all those obstacles in the past on Saturday when she signed a letter of intent to wrestle at Elmira College in New York. She signed her letter in front of family, coaches and friends in an emotional ceremony in the Bottari Gym lobby.

Source: Vallejo High wrestler Maylin Reyes signs with Elmira College – Times-Herald

SELPA advisory committee recognizes 28 for work with children who have special needs – Daily Republic

Nearly 30 school district staff, community members and one student have been selected for the annual Solano County Community Advisory Committee Recognition Award.

This year’s selections were specifically chosen “for demonstration of outstanding accomplishments and services for individuals with special needs during the 2020-2021 (Covid-19) pandemic.”

Among the qualities attributed to the nominees are “knowledgeable, approachable, welcoming, energetic, enthusiastic and 100% student-focused.”

Source: SELPA advisory committee recognizes 28 for work with children who have special needs

Local high schools going back to traditional graduation ceremonies – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

The days of watching a graduation ceremony from the passenger seat of a car seem to be over for local high schools.

Vallejo, Jesse Bethel, St. Patrick-St. Vincent, Benicia, American Canyon and John Finney high schools will all be returning to a more traditional commencement event during the next few weeks, starting with St. Pat’s this Saturday. Some schools, such as Vallejo, Bethel and possibly Benicia, will be doing two events on the same day, with certain students showing up at one time and the other half at another time later in the day based on what letter their last name begins with.

St. Pat’s has 107 students in its 2021 graduating class, according to the school’s dean of students, Lane Hawkins.

Source: Local high schools going back to traditional graduation ceremonies – Times-Herald

ELITE Public Charter to feature sports in 2021-22 – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

Since Hogan High School closed its doors in 2010, the city of Vallejo has featured four high schools with sports competition — Vallejo, Jesse Bethel, St. Patrick-St. Vincent and North Hills Christian.

A fifth — ELITE Public Charter School — will give local athletes another option starting in the fall.

The Whitney Avenue campus featured classes for the first time in 2020-21. ELITE has about 500 students.

The Eagles will feature competition in six sports — football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and track and field. ELITE will be an independent program in the Sac-Joaquin Section, meaning the school will not be part of any conference.

Source: ELITE Public Charter to feature sports in 2021-22 – Times-Herald

Vallejo, Benicia schools aim for in-person instruction in the fall – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

With the end of the school year on the horizon for the Vallejo and Benicia Unified school districts, focus is now starting to switch to the fall and whether or not the new school year will involve only in-person instruction.

Vallejo is moving toward mostly in-person instruction while keeping the option of distance learning, according to Vallejo City Unified School District spokesperson Stephen Nichols.

Nearby school districts have been back to hybrid or some form of in-person instruction for months, but VCUSD returned just recently with 7th grade through high school coming back on April 19 and kindergarten through sixth grade on April 12.

Source: Vallejo, Benicia schools aim for in-person instruction in the fall – Times-Herald

Vallejo High School students to resume in-person instruction Monday – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

Students at Vallejo High School will resume in-person/hybrid instruction on Monday, the Vallejo City Unified School District confirmed on Saturday.

Due to two positive COVID-19 tests involving students, the school went back to distance learning this week while the campus was deep-cleaned.

“We follow all (Public Health Services California) and (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, which don’t require any additional screening for the students returning to campus,” said district spokesperson Stephen Nichols in an email. “Of course, those guidelines do require any students who have symptoms to report them. Our process to facilitate that has been working well, and we’ll continue it. We’re returning to in-person/hybrid instruction having been in consultation with Solano County Public Health.”

Source: Vallejo High School students to resume in-person instruction Monday – Times-Herald

SCOE to honor top 2021-22 educators, school staff – Daily Republic

Seven teachers and eight classified employees have been nominated as the top educators in Solano County for 2021-22.

The certificated educators nominated are:

Kelly Hughes, a fifth-grade teacher in the Benicia School District; Jenny Campbell, a response to intervention and English language development K-3 teacher at Dixon School District; Joseph Arbizu, a math, Algebra II, integrated math and geometry high school teacher in the Fairfield-Suisun School District; Ronald Major, a multiple-subjects (8-12), teacher for the Solano County Office of Education; Kylie Negin, an English and journalism high school teacher in the Travis School District; Laura Roberts, a U.S. history and ethnic studies (11-12) teacher at Vacaville School District; and Vivet Beckford-Nelson, a biology and engineering design and development high school teacher in the Vallejo City School District.

Source: SCOE to honor top 2021-22 educators, school staff

Vivet Beckford-Nelson is Vallejo’s Teacher of the Year – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Vivet Beckford-Nelson says she teaches because of the students. Everything she does is for them.

However, earlier this year her hard work for students helped her gain an award for herself.

Beckford-Nelson, a biology teacher at Vallejo High School, is the 2020 Vallejo City Unified School District Teacher of the Year. When learning about the award through a letter from the district, Beckford-Nelson said she was surprised.

“I was not expecting this at all,” Beckford-Nelson said with a laugh. “I always do my best and I always think of the students first. I had to work a little harder this year, so this means a lot to be recognized.”

Source: Vivet Beckford-Nelson is Vallejo’s Teacher of the Year – Times-Herald

SCOE names educator nominees of the year – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The nominations are in, and the Solano County Office of Education will name the county’s two educators of the year during a virtual celebration on Tuesday.

Every year county school districts nominate one teacher and one classified, or school-support, employee to be recognized as the best of the best for the year.

During the online celebration, which begins at 3 p.m. on the SCOE Facebook page and at www.Solanocoe.net, each nominee for the 2021-2022 awards will be honored.

Source: SCOE names educator nominees of the year – The Reporter

In-person instruction comes back to Vallejo high schools – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Vallejo High School biology teacher Vivet Beckford-Nelson knows a ton about living organisms divided into many specialized fields. On Monday she was glad to see a lot of organisms back in just one place — on campus in her classroom.

“One year, one month and one week,” Beckford-Nelson said, with a laugh on Monday. “That’s how long I’ve been waiting to see my students again in person.”

Vallejo students were back in the classrooms on Monday, enjoying in-person instruction for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March. Kindergarten through sixth grade students returned to in-person instruction last week for the first time in the Vallejo City Unified School District, while this week it was students in the grades 7-12 returning to their campuses.

Source: In-person instruction comes back to Vallejo high schools – Times-Herald

Vallejo principals thrilled seeing students, parents in person – Times-Herald

By Richard Freedman

A thyroid condition, high blood pressure, and congenital heart failure couldn’t thwart Lanzell Williams-Goff’s relief of dropping her 10-year-old grandson off for class Monday morning at Stefan Manor Elementary School.

“It’s awesome. It’s great. I was ready for him to go back,” Williams-Goff said.

It didn’t matter to the ailing grandma that the hybrid back-to-school schedule is an abbreviated 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. four days a week for Vallejo’s 16 elementary schools.

“It’s been torture. This pandemic has really set our lives back and made it hard for us with the living situation, money situation and all the stress,” Williams-Goff said. “When I heard the kids were going back, I was jumping up saying ‘Thank you Jesus! Hallelujah!’”

Source: Vallejo principals thrilled seeing students, parents in person – Times-Herald

Vallejo High School football team rushing to get ready for season opener – Times-Herald

By Matt O’Donnell

Almost every student knows what it’s like to cram for a test.

For the Vallejo High School football team, that exam will come April 2 when the team travels to Rodriguez.

The Redhawks got off to a much later start than others in Solano County when football conditioning was delayed until March 22 by the Vallejo City Unified School District. Almost every other football program in the state began at least a month earlier.

Source: Vallejo High School football team rushing to get ready for season opener – Times-Herald

VCUSD announces official starting dates for hybrid learning – Times-Herald

By Thomas Gase

Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent William Spalding made dates for hybrid learning official on Friday.

The dates were previously tentative, but Spalding said in a video that transitional kindergarten through sixth grade will begin on Monday, April 12. Meanwhile, seventh through 12th grade has been moved up a week to April 19.

The district has been in distance learning since March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a VCUSD meeting earlier this month, Spalding said that Gov. Gavin Newsom would like all of the state to begin returning to in-person instruction by April 1, but if the district had a spring break during the next month, no penalty would be accessed as long as there was a plan in place for schools to return on the first possible day after the break.

Source: Vallejo City Unified School District announces official starting dates for hybrid learning – Times-Herald

Local adult ed provider earns national recognition – The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Vallejo City Unified School District’s Regional Education Center is being recognized for a proposal to train and assist disadvantaged people to succeed in lifting themselves up through construction apprenticeship and union affiliation into highly sustainable careers. Included partnerships are with North Bay Trades Instruction Program, Construction Trades Workforce Initiative, Solano Workforce Development Board, and Napa Solano Building Trades. The proposal seeks to provide opportunities to English language learners who are pursuing career opportunities in the construction trades with English language support, math support, and TIP pre-apprenticeship programs.

Source: Local adult ed provider earns national recognition – The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

VCUSD allowing Vallejo, Bethel football teams to start conditioning – Times-Herald

BY Matt O’Donnell

They say that those who show up to a restaurant after others are “fashionably late.”

If that’s the case, the Vallejo and Jesse Bethel high school football teams may have missed some of the appetizers, but they’ll be around for part of the main course.

Both programs are expected to start conditioning on Monday after given clearance from the Vallejo City Unified School District. Most other schools in Solano County were conditioning in the fall and winter, but VCUSD did not given the green light until now. Actual practice with pads could begin about a week later.

Source: Vallejo City Unified School District allowing Vallejo, Bethel football teams to start conditioning – Times-Herald