VALLEJO – A special citizens advisory committee recommended that the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education rename a school catering to adult learners as the Vallejo Adult School, 10 years after the district changed the name.
The five-person committee appointed by the district to recommend a new name formally presented its recommendation during the Nov. 2 Vallejo school board meeting. The school was previously called the Vallejo Adult School until the district changed the name to the Vallejo Regional Education Center a decade ago. But school board trustees and administrators expressed an interest in renaming the school again in 2021.
Committee member Victoria Grace-Barksdale said that “many in the community have still referred to it as the Vallejo Adult School.”
“This sentiment echoed the thoughts of many current students and staff that attended the school,” Grace-Barksdale told the school board.
The committee also recommended that the board consider naming a school in honor of Adolph “Al” Berenguer, who taught in the district for 50 years. The beloved Filipino educator died in April 2018 at the age of 89.
Committee members said that it was important for the district to honor those various ethnic groups that made an impact in the district and city.
“The committee thought it was important that the name reflect a sense of history and pride while also recognizing the need for the school buildings to reflect the diversity of Vallejo and be equitable in celebrating some of the lasting impacts of local Vallejoans,” Grace-Barksdale said.
Berenguer’s daughter, Yvonne Berenguer, a lecturer with the college of Education, Kinesiology & Social Work at California State University Stanislaus, also advocated for the school board to rename a school in honor of her father.
“Please consider the demographics, the diversity of your community because that is what my dad was really about, was embracing the diversity of this community,” she asked the board.
The district previously considered naming a school after Berenguer in 2019, when the board was split on renaming Vallejo Middle School as the John W. Finney Education Complex in honor of the longtime educator. There had been calls from prominent Filipinos in the community, including Vice Mayor Rozzana Verder-Aliga, to consider naming it after Berenguer.
“We remain hopeful that future sites might also be considered to celebrate the diversity that makes Vallejo so great,” Grace-Barksdale said.
The board appointed several prominent individuals to the committee during the Oct. 5 board meeting. They include Grace-Barksdale, a former school district employee who was recently appointed as the city’s youth coordinator, the city’s Public Works Director Melissa Tigbao, former school board Trustee Hazel Wilson, Solano County Planning Commissioner Paula Bauer, and Deborah Dickson.
The school board will make a decision on the re-renaming during its Nov. 16 meeting.
Board approves contract with Vallejo School Management Association
The school board also approved giving a one-time stipend to members of the Vallejo School Management Association who have at least 10 years of experience with the district.
The new agreement will cost the district $338,780 and includes granting stipends to employees with 10, 15, or 20 plus years. Employees with 10 years will receive $1,500, 15 years get $2,000 and those with 20 plus years get $2,500. All stipends are retroactive to July 1.
“This experience stipend will support the district, attract professionals and incentivize employed team members to stay in the district longer,” district officials said about the agreement.
The association represents the district’s managers and confidential employees who help set management policy.
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THE VALLEJO SUN NEWSLETTER
Investigative reporting, regular updates, events and more
- Vallejo school board
- Vallejo School Managers Association
- Vallejo Adult School
- Vallejo Regional Education Center
- Victoria Grace-Barksdale
- Adolph "Al" Berenguer
- Melissa Tigbao
- Hazel Wilson
- Paula Bauer
- Deborah Dickson
John Glidden is a journalist reporting on the city of Vallejo. The native Vallejoan has written for the Vallejo Times-Herald, Fairfield Daily Republic, the Appeal, and Solano Tempest.
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