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!’”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Getting students back in the classroom was the focus of Wednesday night’s Vallejo City Unified School District’s Governing Board meeting, where board members set a target date of April 12 for a new-look, hybrid form of instruction for students returning from spring break.
“We have been focused on a phase approach to bringing back students for a number of reasons,” said Cheri Summers, the district’s chief academic officer. “We want the opportunity to test and adjust things with smaller groups of students, as well as to provide time for our families and our students to adjust to very new safety protocols, as well as new ways of teaching and learning.
“At this point is the planning phase,” Summers continued, “we’ve been engaged with gathering information from our families about what preferences and decision-making they are going to have to be involved with, in terms of the selection of returning their students to hybrid learning or staying in distance learning. We know that hybrid learning is going to be a shift — not only for our families, but our teachers. So we’re engaging our principals in conversations in what kind of supports we need to provide as we transition to hybrid learning.”
Seventeen Solano students were recognized Saturday during a virtual Chinese New Year celebration hosted by the Chinese American Association of Solano County and awarded scholarships to aid them in their academic journeys.
“The strength of our communities and the future is directly dependent upon theeducation of our youth,”said C.C. Yin, founder and chairman of CAASC, in a press statement.
During the last 24 years, due to generous corporate sponsorships and community support, 306 students have been granted CAASC scholarships totaling in excess of $220,500, organizers said.
Vallejo City Unified is among eight California adult education providers that are finalists in the U.S. Department of Education’s “Rethink Adult Education Challenge,” a program that can lead to immediate job skills for its students, state schools chief Tony Thurmond said in a press statement Friday.
He said federal education officials recognized the Solano County school district’s pre-apprenticeship programs “that equip people with the knowledge and skills they need to enter and succeed in apprenticeship programs.” As a result, the district and the seven other state finalists will move on to Phase 2 of the challenge and compete with other finalists nationwide for $750,000 in prizes.
“I am pleased to see so many California adult education providers receive national recognition for programs that focus on pre-apprenticeships,” Thurmond said in the prepared statement.
Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted stay-at-home orders for Californians last week, but businesses and schools still seem to be operating on varying protocols as the state continues through the COVID-19 epidemic.
Bay Area public and private schools each have their own approaches to holding school during this time — some with in-person, others still fully virtual — and all districts say that they cannot predict exactly when things will change but that they are monitoring data and some guidance from state government.
Some districts have stressed that they do not want to follow the path of small businesses and restaurants and have to open and then close again, depending on rates of the virus. Therefore, reaching normalcy will be a very gradual process.
New turf was installed at Corbus Field in Vallejo this week. The money for the project is paid through Measure S funds, according to the Vallejo Unified School District. The work on the field is part of phase one of a makeover. Phase two is not expected to happen until 2024 and will be much more involved. Vallejo and Jesse Bethel high schools share the field for sports like football, soccer and track.
For new Vallejo schools Superintendent William Spalding, coming to work in Vallejo is like “coming home.”
Spalding was instrumental in opening up Jesse Bethel High School and says he relishes the opportunity to be a guiding force in local education that values diversity.
Prior to becoming an administrator and superintendent elsewhere, Spalding was a high school teacher who taught economics, government, world history, and psychology — surely a good background for navigating public schools in Vallejo.
Could be out of sight, out of mind. Not that most teachers get elevated to celebrity status as it is. Or even acknowledged, though most are surely in the middle of the COVID-19 battle field trying to keep virtual classes functioning.
The Vallejo High School support staff wanted to extend its appreciation for the school’s 65 instructors, hosting a “Teacher Appreciation Celebration” in the parking lot Wednesday.
Welcomed by signs proclaiming “You Are Loved!” to “You Are A Beautiful Role Model” to “We Miss You!” and “We Are So Proud!” thrilled teachers were handed “goodie bags” as they drove up to a tent facilitated by office manager Amy Townsend, the event creator.
At this time of the year in 2019, the Vallejo High School football team already played its final game.
In 2020, the Redhawks haven’t even gotten started.
That hasn’t stopped players like Dommanic Bell from dreaming about what might happen. Practice for North Coast Section schools is scheduled to begin on Dec. 7, and the Redhawks’ first official game is Jan. 7 at Kennedy. The California Interscholastic Federation postponed all fall sports throughout the state with the football season pushed to the next calendar year.Once Vallejo Unified School District officials give their OK, the Redhawks can start conditioning as well.
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.