When Solano County moved into Tier 2 (red) on Sept. 23, some athletic directors were able to get their athletes back onto campus for conditioning with limited numbers.
So far, that has not applied to athletes at Jesse Bethel and Vallejo high schools.
Last week, the Vallejo Unified School District told both schools that they could not move forward with conditioning. The schools were able to condition during a portion of the summer before coronavirus numbers in the county became too high.
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.
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.
There’s no buzz that usually surrounds a school year kick-off. No balloons or donuts for the staff or “Welcome Back” signs.
Oh, it’s still readin’, writin’ and arithmetic. But it’s also COVID-19, and the pandemic has forced the Vallejo City Unified School District to start Aug. 17 with distance learning — much like the rest of the state, if not the country.
As if it isn’t difficult enough for a first-year principal.
Yet, Leah Dubinsky gratefully tackles the rookie assignment at Lincoln Elementary School after bidding Walnut Creek Intermediate good-bye after six years as assistant principal.
Judi Honeychurch did not face a challenger in her last election and will have no need to campaign this fall, either.
Judi Honeychurch“I look forward to the challenges of the future and working with the superintendent and the teachers and staff,” said Honeychurch, who will enter her third term on the Fairfield-Suisun School District board of trustees.
She is the only incumbent who does not have a challenger.
Clifford Gordon, owner of Gordon’s Music & Sound in downtown Fairfield, pulled and filed candidacy papers Thursday for the Trustee Area 1 seat held by Bethany Smith. Trustee Area 2 incumbent Joan Gaut will run against Leslie Unverferth, and Area 6 incumbent John Silva faces Ana Petero.
Paul Rogers has been a teacher for 42 years, four of them in Vallejo. But even he admitted he’s never had a start of a school year quite like this one in 2020.
On Thursday he began setting up his classroom on Vallejo High’s campus for six of his math classes. Three of those classes will each feature 36 students, one class will feature another 34 and two more will feature at least 24 more.
None of those students will be anywhere near Rogers.
Depending on how long COVID-19 lasts, school staffs could soon start recognizing the vehicles of parents as much as faces of the students.
In the latest drive-up event, food boxes, backpacks loaded with school supplies, virus masks, and emergency kits were distributed to 100-plus motorist parents Wednesday morning at Grace Patterson Elementary School.
Natalie Kidder, founder of Another Chapter, coordinated the back-to-school outreach with Patterson Principal Megan De La Mater.
Zoom accounts. Masks. Decent WiFi. It’s not the typical back-to-school shopping list, but then again 2020 has been anything but normal due to COVID-19.
With the start of the school year right around the corner (Aug. 17 in Solano County) teachers, administrators and school board members are currently working quicker than The Flash to make things run smoothly when students return back to class.
When the students do return it won’t be on campuses as the Solano County Office of Education announced three weeks ago that local schools will start the new school year with distance learning. This is because Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in July that that schools in counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list begin the school year via distance learning. Solano County is on that list.
The Vallejo City Unified School District announced on Friday morning that when school returns in the fall all grade levels will resume with distance learning.
The board agreed Wednesday that the 2020-21 school year will begin with distance learning for all grade levels,” Mitch Romao, the Vallejo interim superintendent wrote in a news release. “We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 conditions that led to this inevitable conclusion, and continue to work with county and state education and public health agencies in an expressed hope to resume face to face instruction at the first opportunity.”
The man who “changed the culture” of the Vallejo City Unified School District, pared $15 million from a budget deficit, helped get a bond passed, and steered 11,000 students and families through the rough waters of COVID-19, has resigned.
Dr. Adam Clark, the district’s superintendent since 2017, has accepted the same position with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.
Clark confirmed his pending move late Tuesday. It was confirmed by school board president John Fox following a Wednesday special meeting.
One thing students, teachers and parents can expect when the next school year opens in Vallejo: What’s expected today might be different than what’s expected, say, tomorrow.
The date, however, appears to be in granite instead of COVID-19-changes-everything mush.
“It’s fluid. But no matter what — whether we’re having all students back for face-to-face instruction or it means a hybrid model of half-back and the others at home receiving distance learning — no matter what, we’ll start on Aug. 17,” said school superintendent Dr. Adam Clark.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death and magnifying glass-like scrutiny of law enforcement, many school districts across the country debate whether to eliminate police officers on campus.
In Vallejo, school superintendent Dr. Adam Clark believes it’s a bad move — at least here.
“I’ve watched closely … two sides to the argument … and I get both sides,” Clark said. “But we’ve had a wonderful relationship with the VPD. They’ve been very supportive. I don’t feel they’ve overstepped their boundary in any way and we work collaboratively to meet the needs of our community. I believe we have the same goals for our students.”
Educators, staff, students, and parents are turning their collective attention to the month of August, now that the school year turned upside down by COVID-19 is over. Many wonder what shape public learning will take.
Palo Alto Unified School District officials are exploring a return to campus for some students in August. Superintendent Don Austin is meeting with school board members Tuesday night to fine tune possibilities.
Jesse Bethel High seniors and longtime friends Jared Dela Cruz and Nika Esta are both headed to Cal Berkeley for college in the fall and will soon have their mascot be the Bears. That’s not the only thing the two have in common.
The duo were named the school’s co-valedictorians earlier this week during a filming for their virtual graduation ceremony. Both students have a GPA hovering around a 4.2.
“We’ve been good friends for a while,” Dela Cruz said. “It’s cool to share this position (valedictorian) with her. We met in seventh grade and it will be cool to have some more years together in college.”
Thursday’s graduation marked the 150th for Vallejo High School, although the venerable institution has never had a ceremony quite like this one.
Since 1870, most graduation ceremonies have included the students sitting together in one area, usually Corbus Field, where they would throw their caps in the air collectively. But that opportunity left when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived.
Still, Vallejo High did they best it could to give the Class of 2020 some kind of celebration. A line of cars on Nebraska Street in front of the campus stretched as much as 30 deep at times, as students waited to collect their diplomas and Class of 2020 sign, along with some praise from teachers before they rode off into the sunset.
Some day, Vallejo High student Tiffany Hernandez Donaire wants to use her engineering knowledge to help build houses and other structures. But for the last four years she’s been the architect of the highest grade point average on campus.
Hernandez Donaire will graduate from high school on Thursday with a 4.2 GPA, good enough for her to be named the school’s valedictorian.
“I found out about a month ago and I was a little surprised,” Hernandez Donaire said. “It kind of came out of nowhere. My goal was always to work hard, but I never thought something like this would actually come.”
With a declining student enrollment staring them in the face, the Vallejo School Board approved grade span changes at five of the school district’s elementary schools during its May 20 meeting.
Starting next school year, Federal Terrace, Highland, Patterson, Pennycook, and Wardlaw elementary schools will add the sixth grade, going from a transitional kindergarten (TK) to 5th grade model to a TK-6 school site.
Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Adam Clark said the changes were necessary as the district continues to consolidate school sites throughout the city.
A decided lack of pomp and circumstance notwithstanding, most Vallejo High School seniors shared one note of optimism as they showed up on campus Thursday with their caps and gowns for the school’s foray into the COVID-19 era of graduations.
It wasn’t much, but at least it was something.
As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the season’s traditional events and ceremonies across the nation, the school’s planned ceremony for the 2020 class on June 10 is a no-go. The ceremony is still scheduled for June 10, but the 6:30 p.m. event is a virtual graduation ceremony.
Redhawk seniors were given the opportunity to have their pictures taken while standing on a stage holding their diplomas while dressed up. The pictures will then be added to a slideshow that will be part of the virtual ceremony next month.
It’s been a strange senior year for the Vallejo High class of 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic confining the students to distance learning and a life away from campus during the last two months.
On Friday, however, the Redhawks were welcomed back by teachers, counselors and other faculty with a very personalized greeting.
From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. the drive thru event took place in the parking lot in front of Bottari Gym and next to Corbus Field, as the seniors were given their cap and gowns as well as a personalized sign.