By Chris Ramirez
The Vallejo City Unified School District (VCUSD) Board of Education unanimously authorized Wednesday the sale of a former elementary school and rent-free leasing of a former middle school, putting into motion the development of future youth-serving facilities.
The district board of education officially deemed the Beverly Hills Elementary School as “surplus” in early 2020, a ruling the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) concurred with last November. The school closed the same year as the surplus ruling — along with Franklin Middle School — due to districtwide enrollment decline. The district suffered a more than 40% loss of students between 2000 and 2019, according to an EdSource special report.
Source: Former Vallejo schools to become youth-serving sites – Times-Herald
By Daniel Egitto
Community members of all ages strapped on protective gear and stepped into roller skates Saturday morning at a celebration of Vallejo public servants.
Skate to Appreciate — organized by local youth outreach groups First Chance Vallejo and Angels with Heart — honored four Vallejo Police Department officers and five Vallejo educators for their service. Celina Perez, First Chance Vallejo’s executive director, said children involved in the groups voted on who to recognize.
“They just wanted to appreciate the police officers because they said they don’t get appreciated enough,” said Perez. “And they wanted to appreciate their teachers because they only get one day in the year.”
Source: Teachers, police officers honored at Vallejo skating event – Times-Herald
Griffin Technology Academy announced on Tuesday that its campus construction project — aiming to bring modern facilities to Vallejo and a $48 million state-funded project to the area — is waiting on final approval.
Superintendent Nick Driver of Griffin Technology Academies announced in a news release that final measures to secure Proposition 51 funding are making “tremendous” progress.
“GTA has made a tremendous amount of progress over the last 12 months and I wanted to share the positive news with our school families, staff and board members as well as the Vallejo community at large,” Driver said. “We are eager to break ground and bring immediate jobs to Vallejo that will result in a safe and conducive environment to fulfill our educational mission as GTA recommits and reinvests in Vallejo’s future.”
Source: Griffin Technology Academy announce progress on campus construction project – Times-Herald
A trio of Vallejo elementary classrooms led the way in this year’s WERecycle! Challenge.
Jeannette Starring’s class at Dan Mini Elementary earned $133.07 in California Refund Value refunds, and Jennifer Wheelhouse’s and Melissa Nilson’s classes at Solano Widenmann Leadership Academy earned $135.66.
“My students and their families got really involved with this challenge. During school, some of my students went around our campus during their recess and looked for any recyclable materials, even items that didn’t have the CRV on them. You know that’s huge because kids hate giving up their recess,” Starring said in a statement released by the Solano Resource Conservation District.
Source: Solano third-graders recycle for class cash
The Vallejo Project is hosting a STEAM program this summer where one will be able to design and build a boat while exploring green energy.
Students will conceptualize and hand sketch their boats, use Adobe Illustrator to bring their sketch to life, then createan actual boat using CAD tools and a laser cutter.
The program will last between June 12-15, 19-22 and 26-29 and is for high school Vallejo City Unified School District students. The class will take place at Jesse Bethel High.
Source: Vallejo Project hosting class on how to build boats – Times-Herald
By Thomas Gase
Women veterans across the nation gained a strong voice of support with the naming of longtime veterans’ advocate Nestor Aliga to serve on the VA’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Veterans.
The longtime Vallejoan is one of five new members named to the committee, which advises the Secretary on women veterans’ issues and makes recommendations regarding VA policy, benefits and services created to meet their current and projected needs.
Established by Congress in 1983, the committee shapes the department’s efforts to modernize and provide equitable and timely services to our nation’s women veterans.
Source: Nestor Aliga appointed to advisory committee on women veterans – Times-Herald
By Thomas Gase
Al Berenguer used to tell his children Ike, Yvonne Berenguer and Therese, that as an educator “one can wear many hats.”
“You are the king of your own castle and teaching is a noble profession,” Ike quoted his father’s favorite saying on Saturday. “An educator has to learn so many things so he or she can possibly be a firefighter, police officer, nurse, educator or librarian.
On Saturday, the Vallejo City Unified School District added another item to that list: School name.
Source: Vallejo Regional Education Center renamed after Al Berenguer – Times-Herald
Loma Vista Farm, a five-acre outdoor classroom in North Vallejo that provides children with hands-on educational activities with plants and animals, will open its grounds to curious visitors on Saturday for its annual Spring Open House.
The open house will be held from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. and feature a puppet show, train rides, a plant sale and fiber arts demonstrations of spinning and weaving wool from the farm’s own sheep. Guests can buy food to feed the sheep, goats and alpacas. The farm is home to two horses, two cows, two pigs, and many birds: ducks, chickens, peacocks and turkeys.
Source: Vallejo’s Loma Vista Farm to hold spring open house
By Jordan Baker
Eighth grade is a pivotal year for young adults. Between growing, learning and unwanted acne, it can often be difficult for new teenagers to navigate life and plan ahead.
To help with that, Kaiser Permanente hosted its fourth annual Empower Youth Summit at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom on Tuesday. The annual event aims to inspire Vallejo’s eighth graders — about 575 of them — to learn about “overcoming obstacles, developing leadership skills, mental health and wellness, career development, peer pressure, bullying and goal setting.”
Additionally, Kaiser Permanente Napa Solano leaders and physicians will also provide information about future careers in health care.
Source: A joyride of a youth summit in Vallejo – Times-Herald
By Chris Ramirez
The Vallejo City Unified School District is supporting city efforts to ban encampments near schools and daycares.
The district’s Board of Education unanimously voted Wednesday to support the Vallejo City Council’s plans to prohibit unhoused encampments up to 500 feet from its sites.
Superintendent William Spalding wrote in the resolution’s background section that the school district, while “sympathetic to the plight of the unhoused and urging all necessary steps to provide housing and support services to unhoused individuals,” seeks a ban to provide its students physically and emotionally safe learning environments.
Source: Vallejo school district supports encampment ban near sites – Times-Herald
By Chris Ramirez
The former Grant School has been sold to the City of Vallejo for potential future development on the site.
The Vallejo City Unified School District owns two unused properties that the city is intent on purchasing. The Vallejo City Council voted last week to agree to the sale of both properties, prompting Wednesday’s school board vote on two resolutions that would accept those terms.
VCUSD’s board of education unanimously voted to sell the Grant School, built in the 1980s on a 2.63-acre property. The district sold the site for free because both options of renovating the current structure and rebuilding would cost more than its $300,000 appraisal.
Source: Vallejo school district agrees to sale of Grant school – Times-Herald
By Jordan Baker
Ken, Ryan and Nina Sarna have already shown a ton of success with their NFL Flag Football league. Now the family is looking to show off its other playmaking abilities with LEGO.
The Coach Sarna League has progressed to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning.
The next step is Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy, says teacher Ryan Sarna, and the joy of LEGO.
“We wanted to do more. We’re big on creating community so let’s reach kids that may not be interested in football.,” Ryan Sarna. “LEGO is a lot of fun, but it increases their engineering capabilities. This is really an engineering competition. We wanted to start a low-cost league that was high quality.”
Source: Building a LEGO bridge – Times-Herald
By Susan Hiland
Schools across the area are looking to fill multiple types of position, so the Solano County Office of Education hosted a job fair Saturday for people to seek jobs in a single setting.
“This is targeting the communities in Solano County,” said Mike Minahen, associate superintendent of Human Resources. “The goal for today is to provide an opportunity to recruit locally.”
Nearly all school districts in Solano County came out on a rainy Saturday.
Source: Job fair sheds light on vacancies in Solano school districts
By Ryan Geller
The Vallejo City Unified School District is planning to cut $5 million, including $4.1 million in staff and educator positions, from the coming year’s budget in an attempt to alleviate this years’ budget deficit of $13 million and a projected $7 million shortfall for the 2024-25 school year.
The budget deficits are primarily tied to the district’s declining enrollment. Districts across the state have seen student enrollment drop and Vallejo has lost additional students to the city’s charter schools in recent years.
Source: Vallejo school district facing $5M in budget cuts
By Thomas Gase
There is no age limit for learning about Black History.
Whether it was 6-year-old Ashton Keller performing as Dr. Martin Luther King or Jesse Bethel High School senior Ashley Willis-Drones singing “At Last” by Etta James, Vallejo’s youth were the stars Friday night for a Black History Month presentation at Vallejo High’s theater.
The Ninth annual African-American Parent Network Black History Month — Celebrating the Legacy of Black Excellence — featured 22 acts by young women and men focusing on important Black leaders, musicians, advocates and themes.
Source: Kids celebrate Black Excellence in Vallejo – Times-Herald
By John Glidden
Vallejo City Unified School District students’ performance was poor or very poor in every metric, well below statewide standards in both English language skills and math, as the district had an absenteeism rate and suspension rate double the statewide average, according to new data released on the California School Dashboard.
It’s the first set of data to be released on the state dashboard since it was suspended for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The five-person Vallejo school board will review the data, which includes the district’s graduation rate and student academic performance, during the board’s meeting Wednesday.
Source: New state data paints grim picture of Vallejo schools’ performance
BY Thomas Gase
Athletic teams are coming to Griffin Academy High School and Mare Island Technology Academy High School.
Both schools were granted California Interscholastic Federation Associate Memberships in the Oakland Section of the Bay Area Charter School Athletic Conference (BACSAC) this week, starting the process for both schools to have teams for the winter and spring seasons. Founded in 1999, Griffin Technology Academy schools now serve 1,050 students (growing to 1,900 by 2023).
“We are grateful and excited to be accepted by BACSAC as a CIF Associate Member in the Oakland Section,” said Chris Owens, the athletic director for both schools, in a news release. “The BACSAC staff are quite familiar with the infrastructure of charter schools and have provided immediate guidance since we began building our program from scratch. Our student-athletes are eager to represent our schools in strong and healthy competition.”
Source: Griffin Technology academies granted CIF Associate membership for sports – Times-Herald
By John Glidden
The Vallejo City Unified School District voted to rename a school catering to adult learners to honor a former teacher on Wednesday, despite one school board trustee calling the move “rushed,” and part of “dirty politics.”
The Vallejo school board voted 4-1 to rename the Vallejo Regional Education Center to the Vallejo Adult School at Al Berenguer Educational Center.
The lone ‘no’ vote came from Trustee John Fox who argued Berenguer’s name shouldn’t be added because the school has a 70% Hispanic student population. Berenguer, a beloved Filipino educator, died in April 2018 at the age of 89. He taught in the district for 50 years, including at the adult school, which currently has a Filipino student population of 2%.
“Changing the name to a Filipino name at the Vallejo Adult School would not promote any student achievement for Filipinos,” Fox said. “But it would not represent the 70% Hispanic students that go there daily, that person does not represent them, they have no connection to that person.”
Source: Vallejo adult school to be renamed for former teacher
By Sharon Pearce
Despite safety remaining an issue at Vallejo schools, the Vallejo 2 X 2 Commission was told at its Wednesday meeting there would be no additional staff or funding coming from the city or the police department.
The 2 X 2 Commission — composed of two representatives from the city and two from the school district tasked to find answers within the city’s school system — heard directly from the school district. Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent William Spalding explained that he had heard concern over safety issues from the public on a number of occasions. He offered suggestions such as closing Nebraska Street between Amador and Broadway streets near Vallejo High School during the day to help the school deal with gunfire and infrastructure problems.
Source: Vallejo Police Department says ‘no’ to schools at 2 X 2 commission meeting – Times-Herald
By Todd R. Hansen
Jack Flynn held a majority lead over incumbent Jonathan Richardson for the Trustee Area 5 seat on the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District board.
As of Wednesday, Flynn had tallied 963 votes, representing 51.5% of the ballots cast, while Richardson had 907 votes (48.5%), the Solano County Registrar of Voters Office reported.
The unofficial result is with all 10 precincts counted, but with mail-in and provisional ballots left to count.
Source: Schools election picture coming into focus after Day 2 of count