Tag Archives: school

‘Sport Stacking’ comes to Westfield school

Third graders at Westfield Village Elementary School intent on ‘sport stacking’ in the school auditorium Thursday morning, November 13   (News-Ledger photo)

Third graders at Westfield Village Elementary School intent on ‘sport stacking’ in the school auditorium Thursday morning, November 13
(News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 19, 2014 —

News-Ledger Staff

Several grades of kids at Westfield Village Elementary School took part in a ‘Sport Stacking’ exercise last week. They worked in shifts in the school auditorium, for an event that was designed as an attempt at a Guinness world record. The maker of the specially-designed “Speed Stack” cups hoped to have 600,000 people across the world doing the activity at the same time. Last year, they had 555,932.

At the Poplar Avenue school, Principal Michele Giacomini led the program, timing the kids as they reconfigured their cup stacks for speed and precision.

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Holy Cross School hosts chili cook-off

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 19, 2014 —

Holy Cross Academy, a Catholic private school in West Sacramento, will bring back its annual chili cook-off fundraiser at 6 p.m. on Nov. 22. Among the competitors will be Broderick roadhouse, Capitol Dime, De Vere’s Irish Pub and Pour House. There will be a beer garden.

Open to those 21 and up; $10 in advance or $15 at the door (or $20/$30 for admission plus a beer garden pour card. Purchase tickets at the school, 801 Todhunter Ave., or at http://holycross-westsac.org/support/chilicookoff.

Comedian Jack Gallagher will emcee the event. There will be a silent auction and Christmas bazaar. For information on entering the chili competition, email holycrosschili@gmail.com.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

 

Norma Alcala hopes to become ‘most accessible’ school board member

NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 15, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

  Editor’s note: during every local election, the News-Ledger newspaper endeavors to present to you an interview with each of the people running for office in West Sacramento. In this edition of our print newspaper, we carried an interview with city council candidate Jeff Lyon, as well as this talk with a school board candidate. Enjoy.

NORMA ALCALA News-Ledger photo

NORMA ALCALA
News-Ledger photo

Norma Alcala hopes to get elected to a West Sacramento school board that she feels is already doing a great job.

“I’m proud of everyone on the school board,” she told the News-Ledger last week. “We have an excellent school board.”

If she’s voted in, Alcala said she would concentrate on sharing ideas with both the schools and the community.

“I want to be the most accessible school board member,” she commented. “I give everyone my cell phone number, 916-821-9639. People have to feel – parents, especially – that somebody is reaching out.”

That meshes with her view on the fundamentals of a school board member’s job duties.

“I think accessibility is the most important thing – the willingness to listen to what people have to say, to learn from what people have to say, to invite people into the conversation and find out what their concerns are and what great ideas they might have,” she said. “As a board member, I plan on visiting every one of the schools at least once a month and making myself available to hear what the parents have to say, the teachers have to say and the kids have to say.”

Alcala, 53, is married. She and her husband own (but don’t themselves run) a business that distributes “interlock” systems which can be installed on cars to prevent the ignition from working if the driver fails a breathalyzer test for alcohol.  The couple lives in The Rivers, a north-city subdivision.

Alcala doesn’t currently have any children or grandchildren in Washington Unified School District schools. But her kids went to school locally and have earned college degrees. Alcala holds an Associates of Arts degree in Sacramento before having to leave college and help support her family.

Alcala is the president of the local Democratic club and is active in the Chicano-Latino caucus of the state Democrats. Earlier this year, Alcala unsuccessfully challenged local Yolo County Supervisor Oscar Villegas for his seat.

Her community involvement also involves volunteer duties with Holy Cross Church..

“I’ve always been involved in the schools since my children were young, and I’ve always been on the board of the PTA for my children’s schools,” she explained. “I continued that with my grandchildren.”

Last year, when a grandchild was attending Westmore Oaks Elementary School, Alcala helped out there, wielding a broom and mop to refurbish a school room.

“I went in there and swept windows, I cleaned window boxes that hadn’t been used. It became a beautiful functional room that everybody could use. I helped my daughter with a (school) carnival, with movie nights they had, with a library affair, and with every (school) function.”

Alcala supports Measure V – the school bond on November’s ballot. She believes local student test scores are headed up, and local teachers are dealing well with the new “Common Core” curriculum mandates. She also believes Washington Unified is responsibly managing its money.

“My understanding is it’s probably the best fiscally maintained district in Yolo County,” said Alcala. “It’s been very carefully managed. . . the majority of the monies are going to the children.”

The local teachers union has endorsed Alcala along with incumbent board member Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez (who is a teacher working in a different district).

“I’ve been endorsed by the teachers as well as Sarah, because they know of our strong commitment to education,” said Alcala. “She’s a teacher, but I’ve always been involved in the schools at a lot of levels.” (Her teachers’ endorsement comes from the local teachers’ union.)

Alcala doesn’t wish to change the district’s priorities, but she does allow that she would like to see more programs in the arts and “perhaps more labs” to prepare local kids for jobs of the future. And she would like to find more grant money and more private partners – perhaps, as an acquaintance in another school district reports, to provide local children with refurbished computers they can take home.

Alcala also said West Sacramento – despite the honors it has received for promoting “universal preschool” – doesn’t really have universal preschool. Not every family is choosing it.

“We have wonderful (preschool) programs here, but we don’t have universal preschool,” she explained. “Universal preschool would mean that every child of that age would have it. We have to do that outreach. The (educational) foundation is so important.”

Alcala finds herself on the November 4 ballot facing off with Kirby-Gonzalez and Joshua Alves.

Voters will be asked to pick two of them for the board of trustees on Washington Unified School District.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Flood Preparedness Week kicks off in West Sacramento

NEWS-LEDGER ONLINE — OCT 20, 2014 —

Officials from the State Department of Water Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of West Sacramento will come together to kick off “California Flood Preparedness Week” at a West Sacramento school on Tuesday.

The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Oct. 21 at Westmore Oaks Elementary School.

After a news conference, there will be a chance for students, parents, teachers and business owners to talk to experts about flood protection, flood insurance and related issues. There will be representatives from FEMA, the National Weather Service, California Office of Emergency Services and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The event will also kick off a student poster contest that promotes flood protection.

 Copyright News-Ledger 2014

RCHS cooks up culinary arts class

HANNAH WALL, a River City High School senior and culinary arts student, helped prep over 40 pounds of  chicken in preparation for a local event held at Yolo High School. (Photo courtesy of Cheryle Sutton)

HANNAH WALL, a River City High School senior and culinary arts student, helped prep over 40 pounds of chicken in preparation for a local event held at Yolo High School. (Photo courtesy of Cheryle Sutton)

NEWS-LEDGER — SEPT 24, 2014 —

By Rebecca Schwartz
River City High School Journalism Class

This year at River City High School they are introducing a new class, taught by Cheryle Sutton, which teaches students the “culinary arts.”

On Thursday, September 18, the small class of 18 students provided meals for more than 120 people at the Living on the Healthy Edge Program, ran by River City’s previous principal, Katie Neemer, at Yolo High School.

At the event they served student-made chicken and dumplings, zucchini chips breaded with Italian bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, and watermelon wedges with water. By the end of the event they ended up with leftovers, with which they boxed up and sent home with seminar attendees.

The night went pretty well, according to the students. Despite their lack of experience, they more than made up for it through enthusiasm and enough knowledge to put what they have learned into practice.

“Me and ‘Liz were cutting chicken on like a one foot cutting board… We were cutting like, 40 pounds of chicken,” laughed Junior Hannah Wall and Senior Elizabeth Montanez, participants in the program.

Overall the event was a rousing success. Look for their next event in Mid-October, again at the Living on the Healthy Edge Program at Yolo High School, where they will be serving Chili and deserts made from scratch.

Ms. Sutton hopes that she can portray her love for the hospitality industry that she spent 15 years of her life working in. She wants to teach her students, not only the practical skills, but the personal skills she learned.

Sutton says, “I want them to learn about themselves. What do they like? What are they good at? I want them to get to know themselves better and I want them to realize team work- how it works, how we work as a team to get something done. And I would also like them to enjoy the process in the meantime.”

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

Final candidates for mayor, city council and West Sac school board:

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 13, 2014 —

News-Ledger Staff

The filing period for local candidates is over. Your local ballot in November will look something like this:

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, who has held his post since 2004, will run for another two-year term. But he will draw a challenger: Narinder Hundal, has also filed papers to run for mayor in West Sacramento. The News-Ledger wasn’t immediately able to reach him for comment. Hundal is listed on the ballot as a “business owner.”

City Council incumbents Chris Ledesma and Mark Johannessen are officially running again (Johannessen just completed an unsuccessful bid for State Assembly).

Competing with them for a pair of four-year seats are Jeff Lyon and Nancy Heth-Tran.

Both were among the dozens of applicants for a vacant city council seat earlier this year. Heth-Tran lists her occupation as “energy specialist”; her application for the council vacancy earlier this year listed her employer as the California Energy Commission, and provided a residential address near Raley Field.

Lyon identified himself as a “retired government chief” who lives on 4th Street. He is a former state employee.

There are two vacant seats on the local school board, each for a four-year term.

Board member Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, an “incumbent/teacher/parent” who lives in Southport, has filed to run again.

So did challengers Norma Alcala (who identified herself as an activist and business owner during a previous interview with the News-Ledger) and Joshua R. Alves, a “parent/education volunteer.” Both candidates live in homes on Woodhaven Lane in the north-city.

Adam Menke, a fellow board member of the Washington Unified School District, did not file to run again. That means the deadline for challengers to file was extended to August 13. (EDITOR’S NOTE: no new challengers took advantage of that extended deadline.)

Also on the West Sacramento ballot will be Measure V, a $49.8 million school bond measure meant to renovate, repair and upgrade local school facilities. School officials said this measure would cost property owners about $39 per year for every $100,000 of property value. Owners of a home assessed at $300,000, for example, would pay $117 in new taxes annually.

The measure needs 55 percent voter approval to pass.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014

West Sac voters will face $49.8 million school bond in November

Local school district doesn’t plan to build any news schools, but does hope to pay for some repairs and upgrades at West Sacramento campuses

— NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 2, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento voters will be asked to approve a $49.8 million school bond on the November 4 general election ballot.

If the bond measure earns the required 55 percent voter approval, it will help fund the local school district’s laundry list of needed capital improvements –possible items such as fire systems, wheelchair access ramps, heating and ventilation units, windows, paving and security systems.

A motion to place the bond on the November ballot passed 4-0 at last Thursday’s meeting of the Washington Unified School District board of trustees. The action needed all four “yes” votes to take effect – and board member Alicia Cruz overcame her initial reluctance to support a 2014 bond and eventually provided the needed fourth vote.

Board member Adam Menke was absent from the meeting. Cruz joined fellow trustees Katie Villegas, Mary Leland and Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez in supporting the bond.

MARY LELAND: ‘community will support this bond’ (News-Ledger file photo)

MARY LELAND:
‘community will support this bond’
(News-Ledger file photo)

Board member Mary Leland was the first of the group to speak up after hearing a staff presentation on the proposed school bond. She noted that the bond would pay for campus safety measures and “ADA,” or “Americans with Disabilities Act,” compliance.

“I’ve been very anxious to see this on the agenda,” commented Leland at the meeting. “The community is willing to support this bond, and safety is very highly rated on their list. . . In addition, we’re not going to be able to provide career and college readiness if our facilities aren’t up to date.”

“I admit I as on the fence, going back and forth wondering if this was the right time,” added board colleague Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez.

SARAH KIRBY- GONZALEZ:  ‘let the voters’ decide’ (News-Ledger file photo)

SARAH KIRBY-
GONZALEZ:
‘let the voters’ decide’
(News-Ledger file photo)

She called for a “carefully thought-out” bond expenditure plan and warned that “it’s important to realize the bond will not fix everything.” The bond money would pay for about a quarter of the district’s capital improvements costs, said Kirby-Gonzalez.

Trustee Katie Villegas, who as a private citizen headed up a previous WUSD school bond measure, recalled that running a bond campaign is “a ton of work.” That bond paid for the new River City High School campus.

“I literally ran that high school bond day to day from my garage,” she said. “We’re at a time now where we need to make some investments, particularly in the north area, in our aging schools.”

Alicia Cruz, chairing the meeting, initially dissented.

“I don’t feel this is the right time for a bond,” she said, earning a bout of polite persuasion from her colleagues on the board.

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond (News-Ledger file photo)

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond
(News-Ledger file photo)

Her colleagues seemed to agree that waiting for the higher turnout of a 2016 presidential election might give the bond a better chance to pass.

“But can our district wait that  much time?” asked Villegas.  At one point, Villegas added:

“This isn’t for building a new high school or anything. This is basic stuff. Have you been to Bryte (Elementary School) lately? It’s horrible.”

Kirby-Gonzalez spoke for the majority when she suggested the board simply vote to put the bond on the November ballot, and then see what West Sacramento voters have to say about it.

“I would argue that we just put it out there,” she said. “We put it out there and let them make a choice.”

Cruz detailed one of her objections, which was to the lengthy list of possible projects that bond money could be spent on.

“What scares me is the list of items the bond will cover,” said Cruz. “I think it’s voluminous. I don’t think it’s specific.”

KATIE VILLEGAS:  campaign will be  ‘a ton of work’ (News-Ledger file photo)

KATIE VILLEGAS:
campaign will be
‘a ton of work’
(News-Ledger file photo)

But despite having “that feeling in your gut that says this is not the thing,” concluded Cruz, she eventually agreed to provide the needed fourth vote.

Why?

“Because I am part of a team and I know the district needs this,” she told her colleagues.

The per-household cost of the bond has been estimated downward. The bond resolution capped the cost at $60 per year for every $100,000 in property value, but the board was advised last week that the actual cost would be about $39 annually for every $100,000 in property value. A $300,000 home, therefore, would be taxed around $117 per year over the life of the bond repayment.

The school district conducted a public survey in February to gauge public support for a 2014 bond.

“Although the results were positive, it was clear that a bond campaign would be needed to ensure the public was aware of the need for facility funding that exceeded both (WUSD’s) and the State’s capacity,” noted a district staff report.

The community has a mixed record of supporting school bond measures.

In other business, the school board was briefed on the school district’s budget. The big picture view of the budget is that WUSD is recovering from several years of deficit spending as the State of California’s finances improve. The local district is, to some degree, repairing and rebuilding programs.

  Do you like what you see here?

  You can support local journalism, support this website, and see all the News-Ledger’s articles every week! Subscribe to the News-Ledger newspaper. It’s only $20 per year within West Sacramento – once a week, delivered to your mailbox.

  You can even try it for free for two months if you live in West Sacramento. Just send your name and mailing address to FreeTrial@news-ledger.com (offer open to new subscribers in West Sacramento ZIP codes 95691 & 95605).

Copyright News-Ledger 2014