Torlakson_state Superintendent_2_3_14

David Weir K-8 Preparatory Academy sixth-grade teacher Rebecca Dinwiddie, left, speaks to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, center, during a math presentation by a student during the superintendent's visit to the school Monday. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)


State schools chief tours local schools

By From page A3 | February 05, 2014

FAIRFIELD — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson came to the local Public Safety Academy on Monday and apparently liked what he saw.

He bade a few hundred students good morning as they stood for the 7:45 a.m. outdoor morning assembly in military style – all dressed in school uniforms, no slouching, no daydreaming. The Public Safety Academy is part of the Fairfield-Suisun School District.

“Sir, good morning, sir,” the students responded to Torlakson in merged voice.

“I am very pleased at the strength you show together and your discipline and your focus,” Torlakson told them. “Dream big, set goals and work step-by-step to get to your goals.”

Torlakson has been head of the state’s public schools system since his election in November 2010. He previously served on the Antioch City Council, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, the state Assembly and the state Senate.

Among those who turned out for Torlakson’s tour was district Superintendent Kris Corey, state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, Fairfield City Manager Sean Quinn, Fairfield Police Chief Walt Tibbet, Solano County Superintendent of Schools Jay Speck, Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association President Laurel Salerno-White and Fairfield-Suisun school board members.

The school district began the Public Safety Academy in 2012. The academy trains students for careers in such fields as police, fire, courts and social work.

Torlakson said he came to the academy to see if this type of approach might be attempted elsewhere in the state.

“You always like to take great ideas and multiply them,” Torlakson said.

Fairfield-Suisun School Board President David Isom said he was pleased to get the word out on the Public Safety Academy.

“This is an incredible display of partnership between the city and school district,” he said as Torlakson toured classrooms. “Incredible.”

Tibbet said the school had exceeded expectations.

“We’re finding this model has value and people are trying to replicate it,” he said.

Then Torlakson went to David Weir K-8 Preparatory Academy. The message sign out front read, “No Excuses University – Welcome Superintendent Torlakson!”

Torlakson saw a class of second-graders who have adopted a University of California, Berkeley theme. They greeted Torlakson with the school’s Golden Bear cheer.

Then the children made it clear that college is already on their minds. They showed a video presentation on a visit to their school by Harry Le Grande, vice chancellor of student affairs for the University of California, Berkeley.

Among the advice they got from Le Grande: Get good grades, do homework, graduate from high school and listen to parents and teachers.

“I’m fortunate that three of my kids went to Cal Berkeley,” Torlakson told the children. “The fourth went to the University of California, Santa Cruz . . . . You can do it.”

Torlakson’s schedule also called for a visit at Crystal Middle School.

Corey said she got to know Torlakson during an educational trip to Spain a couple of years ago and invited him during subsequent meetings to visit the district. Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, helped arrange the visit, she said.

“It’s very exciting to have Fairfield-Suisun on the map, so to speak,” Corey said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 5 comments

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  • CD BrooksFebruary 04, 2014 - 8:47 am

    SO I get a call this morning about the morning law enforcement at Rolling Hills Elementary. I’ve seen PD in the afternoon but apparently not to the extent they patrol in the AM. I hear really good things and I’m glad they’re trying to wake folks up. Still a long way to go but good job FPD! Having said that, I was told of one officer maybe off duty (?) and in his patrol car, parked in front of the school. He got out and promptly walked straight across the street and into the school. There is no law against crossing the street there, but we are trying to set examples here. A little help buddy? If kids see you cross there instead of a crosswalk they think is it is okay for them too. Parents and especially law enforcement should be aware of those things we’re talking about safety here. Thankyouverymuch!

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  • L.February 04, 2014 - 11:30 am

    The police, the parents and the students are always jay walking in front of the PSA. It's way worse than it was when it was Amy Blanc or Matt Garcia. We've almost hit a cop and a few parents running across the street far from any crosswalk. And I've seen several do U-turns in the Orchid/Atlantic intersection, which I'd never seen before.

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  • CD BrooksFebruary 04, 2014 - 12:22 pm

    L, maybe I should have been a little clearer? Jay walking by definition is crossing against a red at an intersection. Pedestrians have the right of way in California. The only place we are not allowed to cross legally outside a crosswalk is at controlled intersections. The folks crossing are doing so legally (and setting a really bad example for our kids), but they are supposed to make sure they are not putting drivers and/or themselves at risk.That is another reason 25 MPH is not always a safe speed. I'd like school zones to be 20MPH with severe penalties for non-compliance. Best to be aware and drive with a foot on the brake! No excuse for U-turns there, they should be arrested.

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  • Loves our LanguageFebruary 04, 2014 - 3:56 pm

    Legal definition: Jay walking n. walking across a street outside of marked cross-walks and not at a corner, and/or against a signal light. If there is vehicle traffic or clear markings of a place to cross, this is a traffic misdemeanor subject to fine, and may be (but not conclusively) contributory negligence in the event of injury to the jay walker by a vehicle.

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  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About JaywalkingFebruary 04, 2014 - 4:06 pm

    V C Section 21954 Pedestrians Outside Crosswalks (a) Every pedestrian upon a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway so near as to constitute an immediate hazard. (bThe provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway. V C Section 21955 Crossing Between Controlled Intersections Between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or by police officers, pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place except in a crosswalk. V C Section 21961 Local Regulation of Pedestrians This chapter does not prevent local authorities from adopting ordinances prohibiting pedestrians from crossing roadways at other than crosswalks

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