SSPI Announces Tool for Assessing Student Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) has released a new implementation tool on diagnostic and formative assessments as a resource for schools. Being able to identify where students are in their learning within key content areas when they return to school would support educators moving forward as they teach students who missed months of in-class instruction.

The new document—titled “Implementation Tool: Guidance on Diagnostic and Formative Assessments”—offers many tools and strategies for taking a snapshot of students’ learning, but none of the assessments are required.

“Due to the school closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, we all have concerns about learning gaps and share educators’ desires to have useful diagnostic assessments when students return,” Thurmond said. “This has especially impacted our most disadvantaged and vulnerable students, many of whom lack access to the technology needed for distance learning. Our set of resources offers multiple ways to measure a student’s learning without exacerbating the trauma they have experienced in recent months, while providing tools educators need to accelerate learning.”

Source: SSPI Announces Tool for Assessing Student Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

What state’s budget means for K-12 schools – Daily Democrat

By Ricardo Cano

California’s new budget provides enough funding for schools to pivot to hybrid learning when they reopen this fall. But school officials fear Sacramento’s decision to delay cuts could throw districts into the fiscal abyss later.

The $202 billion budget Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Monday largely keeps intact funding for California’s public schools, capping a turbulent couple months of budget negotiations.

Initially, schools were in line to receive a steady increase in funding when the governor introduced his January proposal, with money going to long-term efforts to expand early childhood programs and other targeted efforts, including grants to incentivize educators to teach in low-income schools.

Source: What state’s budget means for K-12 schools – Daily Democrat

Retired teacher throws hat into Vacaville’s District 6 ring – Daily Republic

By Todd R. Hansen

Longtime Vacaville resident Jeanette Wylie has been holding what she calls “listening on the lawn” sessions as part of her campaign for the City Council.

Wylie, 65, is seeking the District 6 seat. Appointed Councilman Raymond Beaty, who is serving as vice mayor, is the incumbent living in the district. The election is for a two-year term, with four-year terms beginning in 2022.

Wylie, a retired teacher, likes the new format that increased the council from five members to seven, including six members who represent specific districts, and the mayor’s post, which is elected on a citywide vote.

Source: Retired teacher throws hat into Vacaville’s District 6 ring

Small California school districts face overwhelming challenges to reopen schools – The Reporter

By Diana Lambert

California’s smallest school districts face big hurdles in planning for next school year. Some small districts don’t have enough computers or reliable internet service in their communities to provide distance learning to all their students and many don’t have enough money to reopen campuses without difficulty, according to a survey of 185 superintendents.

The Small School Districts’ Association surveyed superintendents of school districts with fewer than 2,500 students to learn how successful they were at implementing distance learning after schools closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. They also wanted to determine the problems each would have in reopening schools.

Source: Small California school districts face overwhelming challenges to reopen schools – The Reporter

School superintendent bids farewell to Vallejo – Times-Herald

By Richard Freedman

The man who “changed the culture” of the Vallejo City Unified School District, pared $15 million from a budget deficit, helped get a bond passed, and steered 11,000 students and families through the rough waters of COVID-19, has resigned.

Dr. Adam Clark, the district’s superintendent since 2017, has accepted the same position with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.

Clark confirmed his pending move late Tuesday. It was confirmed by school board president John Fox following a Wednesday special meeting.

Source: School superintendent bids farewell to Vallejo – Times-Herald

Task Force on Safe Schools Address School Reform – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today convened a hearing that took a comprehensive look at the role of police officers in schools and the impact that law enforcement presence has on students, learning, and campus safety. The hearing was a three-part panel discussion that examined: different models of school policing, research and data on the impact and consequences of police officers in schools, and a framework for potential policy recommendations for reimagining school safety.

An archived broadcast of today’s hearing can be found on the California Department of Education (CDE) Facebook page External link opens in new window or tab.

As many school districts re-examine the role and impacts of police on their campuses, Tuesday’s Task Force on Safe Schools hearing was the first step to address these issues on a statewide level and within the context of equity and racial justice.

Source: Task Force on Safe Schools Address School Reform – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

PG&E offers STEM scholarships – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

Twenty $10,000 scholarships and 20 scholarships worth $2,500 are being offered to students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.

The scholarships are being offered by the Pacific Gas & Electric company and its foundation.

Applications are open to graduating high school seniors, current college students, veterans and adults returning to school who are PG&E customers at the time of application. Applicants must plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study for the entire 2020-21 academic year and be seeking their first undergraduate degree at an accredited four-year institution in California.

Source: PG&E offers STEM scholarships

Changes ahead when schools start in Vallejo – Times-Herald

By Richard Freedman

One thing students, teachers and parents can expect when the next school year opens in Vallejo: What’s expected today might be different than what’s expected, say, tomorrow.

The date, however, appears to be in granite instead of COVID-19-changes-everything mush.

“It’s fluid. But no matter what — whether we’re having all students back for face-to-face instruction or it means a hybrid model of half-back and the others at home receiving distance learning — no matter what, we’ll start on Aug. 17,” said school superintendent Dr. Adam Clark.

Source: Changes ahead when schools start in Vallejo – Times-Herald

Vallejo superintendent: Resource officers much needed – Times-Herald

BY Richard Freedman

In the wake of George Floyd’s death and magnifying glass-like scrutiny of law enforcement, many school districts across the country debate whether to eliminate police officers on campus.

In Vallejo, school superintendent Dr. Adam Clark believes it’s a bad move — at least here.

“I’ve watched closely … two sides to the argument … and I get both sides,” Clark said. “But we’ve had a wonderful relationship with the VPD. They’ve been very supportive. I don’t feel they’ve overstepped their boundary in any way and we work collaboratively to meet the needs of our community. I believe we have the same goals for our students.”

Source: Vallejo superintendent: Resource officers much needed – Times-Herald

CDC Will Provide Virus-Testing Guidance for Schools as Pressure to Reopen Grows – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Schools may be out for the summer, but the heat is on for them to reopen in less than two months.

That was one big takeaway from a congressional hearing Tuesday, in which several senators as well as federal health officials agreed that getting children back into classrooms next fall is vital for students, their parents, and for the nation at large.

The Senate education committee hearing took place as public pressure mounts on schools to resume some form of normal operations in the upcoming academic year, due in part to concerns about a weakened economy and the long-term welfare of children and families.

Source: CDC Will Provide Virus-Testing Guidance for Schools as Pressure to Reopen Grows – Politics K-12 – Education Week

SSPI Announces Ethnic Studies Webinar Series – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) will lead a series of virtual ethnic studies webinars and lessons in the coming weeks. As the CDE prepares to submit a revised Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for public review, these webinars will help students, educators, and families familiarize themselves with the core areas of ethnic studies, including how different groups have struggled and worked together, as well as key concepts such as equality, justice, race, ethnicity, and indigeneity.

“Our students have spoken, and they want to have conversations and learn about our nation’s complex history in a way that is more representative of the world they’ve experienced and lived—a way that represents them and their families,” said Thurmond. “During this historic moment, we as a nation are re-examining the problematic fabrics of our society and history; ethnic studies helps emphasize cross-relational and intersectional study of different groups and helps tell of the struggles, histories, and contributions of America’s ethnic groups that all students need to learn.”

Source: SSPI Announces Ethnic Studies Webinar Series – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

2020 Model SARB Winners Announced – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that 14 school attendance review boards (SARBs) have been designated as model programs by the State SARB for exemplary practices that have contributed to reducing chronic absenteeism rates and improving student attendance.

The announcement of the model SARBs follows the statewide school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The SARBs were recognized for successfulmulti-tiered attendance strategies used during the school year, which have been adapted and implemented during distance learning.

“Students who were chronically absent before schools closed due to the global health crisis are particularly at-risk for poor participation in distance learning,” said Thurmond. “School communities are navigating through unprecedented challenges; however, it is imperative that all students—especially those who have attendance issues—stay connected to ensure that they don’t fall behind. The attendance systems these model districts have put in place are examples that other districts throughout the state can review and utilize now and when schools reopen.”

Source: 2020 Model SARB Winners Announced – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Issues Statement in Response to Ed Budget – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond issued the following statement today in response to the Legislature’s approval of the 2020-21 state budget for K-12 public education:

“I want to commend our leaders in the Assembly and Senate for working with the Governor to preserve funding for education and to avoid the permanent cuts and layoffs that would have been devastating for California’s public schools and students just when they need us the most. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our economy, and we are grateful that this budget recognizes that investments in public education will be a critical driver to our state’s rebound.

Source: SPI Issues Statement in Response to Ed Budget – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Dixon Unified School District Equity Statement | Dixon, CA Patch

We are living in unprecedented times in so many ways, and while the District has had a large and ongoing response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have not addressed the current conditions within the country related to race, equity, and our role related to these critical issues outside of comments at recent Governing Board Meetings.The mission statement of the District reads, in part, that we will “close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and career readiness. . . ” As evidenced in such overt and disturbing ways recently, some of our students come to us with experiences of being subject to racism, discrimination, harassment, and other injustices in both explicit and implicit ways. No child should live in these conditions. They negatively impact a child’s ability to learn and develop to their fullest potential.

Source: Dixon Unified School District Equity Statement | Dixon, CA Patch

Rodriguez Mustangs stampeded to some great stories – Daily Republic

By Paul Farmer

Rodriguez High may be the newest high school in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District as it enters its 20th school year this fall, but there’s been enough time for the Mustangs – their athletes, coaches and fans – to come up with some amazing stories.

And documentaries. Having done stories on what would make interesting documentaries at Armijo and Fairfield high schools the past two weeks, it’s now Rodriguez’s turn.

Source: Rodriguez documentaries: Mustangs stampeded to some great stories

There’s a new lesson in California preschools — no sharing – Times-Herald

By Zaidee Stavely

Walk into a California preschool during the coronavirus pandemic, and you might see children playing alone inside their own hula hoop.

Gone are family-style meals and snacks where children serve themselves. And no more sharing toys.

Some of the state’s new guidelines for child care facilities, like keeping children six feet apart, seem at odds with the main goal of early education, which is focused on helping children feel safe and loved, and learn to play and talk with both other children and adults.

Source: There’s a new lesson in California preschools — no sharing – Times-Herald

Vacaville school board to consider budgets for district – The Reporter

BY Nick Sestanovich

The Governing Board of the Vacaville Unified School District will consider adopting with a projected $116 million in General Fund revenues for the 2020-21 academic year at its Thursday meeting.

The revenue assumptions used for the budget are based on projections from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May revisions to the state budget. The district’s budget is also linked to the approval process of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), both of which require a public hearing and adoption. The budget approval process will have both at Thursday’s school board meeting, while an LCAP hearing will be held at a later date.

For the 2020-21 school year, VUSD is anticipating $5 million in local funding, $9 million in state funding, $4.6 million in federal funding and $97.9 million in funding from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a funding system which establishes grants in place of funding streams. Combined, the funding systems are projected to provide more than $116 million for the next school year.

Source: Vacaville school board to consider budgets for district, Kimme – The Reporter

Gov. Newsom: California budget deal avoids teacher layoffs – The Reporter

By Maggie Angst and John Woolfolk

As California struggles to manage the impact of the growing coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced a state budget deal that avoids deep education cuts to close a cavernous deficit created by the crisis.

Newsom offered few details in the deal hashed out with legislative leaders late Sunday, but he stressed that the most feared cuts to public schools that he’d called for to help close a $54.3 billion shortfall will be averted.

“We have provisions against teacher layoffs,” Newsom said Monday. “That is good news, that was foundational, something we all cared deeply about. There was concern and anxiety about layoffs and pink slips and that was substantially addressed.”

Source: Gov. Newsom: California budget deal avoids teacher layoffs – The Reporter

California considers extending foster care for young adults – The Reporter

BY Claudia Boyd-Barrett

At the beginning of March, Monse Gonzalez had her entire year planned. She would graduate from community college, save part of her paychecks as a childcare worker, and start school at UC Santa Barbara.

Then came the pandemic.

Suddenly, everything Gonzalez, 18, had worked for was in jeopardy: her job, her housing, her associate’s degree. While many young adults have families to lean on during these uncertain times, as a young adult in California’s foster care system, Gonzalez’s main support is herself.

“I want to make sure that I’ll be able to have a roof over my head,” said Gonzalez, who has bounced between multiple foster families and housing arrangements since age 15 when her mother died. “I want to know what’s going to happen in the next year.”

Source: California considers extending foster care for young adults until pandemic emergency ends – The Reporter

Persistence pays off at diploma event for Sem Yeto grads – Daily Republic

By Peter Fournier

That was the theme of Thursday morning’s drive-thru diploma ceremony for graduates of Sem Yeto High School, located at the Fairfield High School campus.

An expected 61 graduates rolled through the parking lot to pick up their diplomas and take the next step in their lives after moving on from the continuation high school.

Principal James Hightower commended the staff for putting together the drive-thru ceremony, which consisted of a location for students to get their actual diploma, and then a stop for graduates to get a picture in their caps and gowns.

Source: Persistence pays off at diploma event for Sem Yeto grads