Dear Benicia Community,

I hope you enjoyed a restful Spring Break and a smooth transition back into the swing of things this week. This is an exciting time as the seeds of learning, planted throughout the year, are flowering and taking root for our students. I am proud of our efforts as a school district and know we will continue to achieve at a high level as we make our way into spring and right up to the last day of school.

Gold Ribbon Schools – A Notable Achievement: I am excited to announce that Mary Farmar, Joe Henderson, and Robert Semple will be forwarded to the State Department of Education for final approval as Gold Ribbon Schools. (Mathew Turner was recognized as a California Distinguished School in 2013-14. ) One-third of the Gold Ribbon Schools for all of Solano County this year are from Benicia Unified! Since my last update, all three schools went through a thorough review process, including a visitation from a site validation team. This is an outstanding achievement of which we are very proud. Once we get final approval from the State Department, we will let everyone know.

An Opportunity to Share your Thoughts: Please take a moment to click here on the link and watch a short video by Yours Truly. One of the projects I am engaged in this year is the crafting of a district vision statement, shared organizational beliefs and identifying the desired characteristics of a Benicia Graduate. Your thoughts are very important to this effort and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to watch the short video and share your thoughts with me on the attached questions. Please share your ideas by Friday, April 15.

Facilities Master Plan:
We completed the District Facilities Master Plan and it was approved by the Board in February. If you are interested, you can find the plan on the District web page under the Maintenance, Operations and Facilities tab. We believe we have a solid plan that was developed with broad input from school site communities. I hope you get a chance to take a look.

Measure S:
We are making excellent progress with our Measure S efforts. You can also click on the Measure S tab on the District web page for further information, but here is a quick glance of our work to date:

  1. Technology Infrastructure Upgrade
  2. Phone System
  3. Playgrounds at all Elementary Schools
  4. Roof at BMS
  5. Roof at Mary Farmar
  6. Softball Field Bleachers
  7. BHS Exterior Painting

Bond Projects In-Progress:

  1. Clocks/Bells/PA upgrade and replacement
  2. Surveillance System
  3. Fire Alarm System at BMS
  4. BHS Stadium Track & Field
High School Bell Schedule: In support of the Western Association of School and Colleges (WASC), goals established at the high school, we commissioned the Schedule Advisory Committee to research, analyze, discuss and recommend new bell schedule options. The Schedule Advisory Committee (SAC) (include link to the high school’s web page) was charged with conducting a fair, inclusive, and rigorous process to develop a recommendation for a new bell schedule that will promote high expectations, open access, robust support systems and effective instructional practices that maximize on the potential and promise of all students.   

Any schedule recommendations from the Schedule Advisory Committee must meet the following criteria:

  • Recommendation will be supported by current research and evidence about student learning to increase student engagement through innovation and differentiation
  • Dedicated time for teacher collaboration (Professional Learning Communities) to align and enhance curriculum, instruction, assessment and support embedded, ongoing professional development
  • Increased flexibility to provide social/emotional and academic support for students throughout the school day
  • Class period length to support best practices, authentic assessment and instruction aligned with the Common Core State Standards
  • Recommendation will satisfy state legal requirements for instructional minutes
Adoption of any new schedule would not start until the 2017-18 school year as we want to ensure staff is well prepared and provided robust, ongoing professional development to maximize on any changes.   
Local Control Accountability Plan: I would like to thank everyone who participated in providing feedback to our LCAP plan. We are honing the document now and believe it is shaping up, like this year’s, to reflect the goals and actions that will drive our work over the next three years in exciting ways. In essence, it is our strategic plan and having a process where we update the plan yearly, keeps it relevant and responsive to short and long term goals. 
Benicia Education Foundation Fun Run: I hope to see as many of you as possible on Sunday for the run. I’m not a particularly fast runner, and if you want to join Tim Rahill, our CBO and me, please feel free to do so. Thank you BEF!!!
Dr. Charles Young, Superintendent