State schools chief announces new initiative: ‘Education to End Hate’ – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

In an hour-long virtual news conference, Monday, state schools chief Tony Thurmond announced new efforts to combat increased cases of hate, bigotry and racism in California schools and communities, the “Education to End Hate” initiative.

Thurmond said that the California Department of Education will lead a series of strategies— including educator training grants, partnerships with community leaders, and virtual classroom sessions — that uses the power of education to create a more just society.

“We do not need any more evidence that our country is facing two pandemics: coronavirus and hate. It feels like every day we are seeing heartbreaking examples: more anti-Semitic behavior, bullying of Asian American students because of our president’s rhetoric, Islamophobia, discrimination of our LGBTQ neighbors, and violence directed at people of color,” Thurmond said. “It’s time to double down on our efforts to combat all forms of hate, bias, and bigotry. By digging deeper into the complexities of our diverse and difficult histories — not denying or ignoring them — I believe education can provide the pathway to healing, understanding, and racial and social justice.”

Source: State schools chief announces new initiative: ‘Education to End Hate’ – The Reporter

New Seal of Civic Engagement – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

The California State Board of Education today approved criteria for California students to earn a new Seal of Civic Engagement, an incentive aimed at encouraging active and ongoing citizenship.

To earn the seal, students must demonstrate excellence in civic learning, participation in civics-related projects, contributions to their community, and an understanding of the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, and the American democratic system. Students may earn the seal on a transcript, diploma, or Certificate of Completion. California history and social science teachers worked in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop the initial requirements.

“The future of our democracy depends on a knowledgeable and actively engaged citizenry,” said State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond. “With this new seal, we hope to prepare all students with an empathetic concern for others, a deep understanding of democracy, and the civic engagement skills needed to contribute to the welfare of their local communities, the state, and the country.”

Source: New Seal of Civic Engagement – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

SFSP Annual Update 2020–21 – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

The California Department of Education (CDE) has opened the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Annual Update in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) for School Year (SY) 2020–21 (October 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021).

Important Information

Prior to serving meals the Nutrition Services Division must approve your CNIPS SY 2020–21 Application Packet. If you are planning to serve SFSP meals on October 1, 2020, please submit your complete Application Packet as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition to the new year.

Source: SFSP Annual Update 2020–21 – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

Webinar on Public Health Guidance – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted a special webinar today for thousands of school leaders, parents, and educational partners to answer questions and assist schools in their understanding of state public health guidance as they continue to ensure the health and safety of students and staff during the pandemic.

The State Superintendent was joined by Ben Chida, Chief Deputy Cabinet Secretary in the Governor’s Office, and Dr. Erica Pan, Acting State Health Officer at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

“I want to acknowledge how proud I am of California’s entire education community, and I just have to commend everyone for doing your part,” Thurmond said. “This is not easy, but I am inspired by our students, educators, administrators, families, and partners leaning in under unimaginable circumstances. Thank you to our partners in the Governor’s Office and CDPH for helping school leaders plan for the weeks and months ahead. We are grateful for all efforts to help schools navigate these complicated decisions in their communities.”

Source: Webinar on Public Health Guidance – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Thurmond Issues Statement in Response to Trump – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s recent announcement that he would seek to withhold funding from California schools that choose to use a curriculum that reviews the impacts of slavery and how it has contributed to racism in our nation:

“President Trump’s latest announcement is a petty and disgraceful threat designed to distract and further divide our country at a time when we need true leadership that can unite us. California’s educators should feel empowered to lead courageous conversations with their students about the history of race and racism in our country—not worry if their school will lose funding.

“At the California Department of Education, we will continue to encourage school districts to talk about racism and unconscious bias in all forms. That includes building training programs to help our 10,000 schools address the impacts of implicit bias and race in our schools. We are also developing a first-in-the-nation statewide ethnic studies model curriculum that all of our school districts can use as a guide for classroom instruction that will shine a long-overdue light on the contributions of people of color.

Source: Thurmond Issues Statement in Response to Trump – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Initial ELPAC Test Moves Online – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced this week that the assessment used to determine a student’s English proficiency has successfully transitioned online, giving educators a powerful tool to reach and support English learners while school campuses are closed.

The Initial English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) has moved from a paper-pencil test to an online computer-based test and, as a result, produced real-time results. The online test became available to school districts and charter schools on August 20.

The Initial ELPAC serves as the state’s English language proficiency assessment to identify students as English learners. The test is administered to all students whose primary or home language is not English.

Source: Initial ELPAC Test Moves Online – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

School Year 2020–21 Annual Update—Fourth Notice – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

The California Department of Education (CDE) has opened the School Nutrition Programs (SNP) Annual Update in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS) for School Year (SY) 2020–21 (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021).

The CDE recognizes the challenges that School Food Authorities (SFA) face while preparing for the upcoming SY. As a result, we want to provide as much time as possible for the Annual Update process. The CDE is actively developing re-opening guidance for schools and will continue to release resources as they are developed. Those SFAs that have already established re-opening plans for the fall can complete their required annual participation updates in the CNIPS now.

Source: School Year 2020–21 Annual Update—Fourth Notice – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

CARES Reimbursement Tool for March 2020 – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

Pursuant to the 2020 Budget Act, Section 118, in accordance with the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, funds from the Federal Trust Fund have been appropriated for allocation by the California Department of Education (CDE) to be used for increased rates for meals served during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Program operators, including school districts, county offices of education, charter schools, residential childcare institutions, and private schools, participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Seamless Summer Option (SSO), or Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) that served meals in the months of March 2020 to August 2020, inclusive, during school closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for an increased state meal reimbursement, not to exceed $0.75 for breakfasts and lunches served.

Source: CARES Reimbursement Tool for March 2020 – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

New Tool to Strengthen Distance Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) has released a new tool—Guidance on Best Practices for Distance Learning Instructional Planning—to support educators that are implementing distance learning instruction.

“Distance learning will be with us in some form moving forward, even as schools may be allowed to begin reopening in various capacities. We are committed to offering real-time, actionable support to our educators as we all lean into this new reality,” Thurmond said. “Through continued investments in educator training—and increased, proactive family engagement—I am confident that our schools will reach and engage more students as we move through this challenging period together.”

The new guidance document offers suggestions in four key areas: clear definitions of instructional models and language, an overview of required daily minutes for the 2020-21 school year and considerations for instruction both with live interaction and without live interaction, research-based principles for school districts to consider as they prepare to re-open, and ideas for how educators may structure learning.

Source: New Tool to Strengthen Distance Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Welcome to School Year 2020–21 – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

On behalf of the entire California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) team, I am sending my sincere appreciation and gratitude to each of you as you wrap up your summer meal service operations during COVID-19 and embrace the new 2020–2021 school year. During this past year, you stepped up to the plate in unprecedented times. As we look ahead, I fully realize there is still uncertainty in how COVID-19 will affect schools and meal service operations. However, I am confident that with your “can do” spirit and working together as a school nutrition community, we will overcome the obstacles and figure out solutions so California’s students have access to school meals.

Source: Welcome to School Year 2020–21 – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

New Special Education Director Named – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Heather Calomese as the new Director of the Special Education Division at the California Department of Education (CDE).

The Special Education Division provides information and resources to serve the unique needs of individuals with disabilities so that each person will meet or exceed high standards of achievement in academic and non-academic skills. As schools continue virtual learning in the weeks ahead, Calomese will support CDE’s efforts to provide assistance to schools and engage families and educators in ways that ensure the unique needs of students with disabilities are met.

Source: New Special Education Director Named – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) has posted online its latest recommendations to the draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. The recommendations are scheduled to be reviewed by the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) at its quarterly meeting on August 13, the next in ongoing opportunities for public input before final adoption.

The CDE recommends that the model curriculum remain rooted in four foundational disciplines of ethnic studies—African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Chicano Latino Studies, and Native American and Indigenous Studies. The CDE also recommends the draft include educator resources for engaging in expanded, critical conversations that can be customized to reflect a school community’s diversity and engage in broader social justice issues.

“Our schools have not always been a place where students can gain a full understanding of the contributions of people of color and the many ways throughout history—and present day—that our country has exploited, marginalized, and oppressed them. At a time when people across the nation are calling for a fairer, more just society, we must empower and equip students and educators to have these courageous conversations in the classroom,” said Thurmond. “I am proud to submit these recommendations for a draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum that will not only serve as a roadmap for educators but, hopefully, inspire action across the nation.”

Source: Draft Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

SSPI Outlines Support for Distance Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Wednesday outlined ways in which the California Department of Education (CDE) is helping schools implement and strengthen distance learning in the weeks leading up to the new school year, including guidance updates and virtual professional development, and ongoing efforts to connect school districts to resources that can close the digital divide.

“With school starting in a matter of weeks for many districts—and with as many as 97 percent of students expected to begin in distance learning—CDE is leaning into this moment to help make sure our educators are ready,” said Thurmond. “Whether we are helping schools close the digital divide, or providing guidance and webinars to understand new requirements, I am proud of the work our team is leading to help educators have the resources and responsiveness they need to make critical decisions in real time.”

Source: SSPI Outlines Support for Distance Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Resources Identified to Support Distance Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and leaders serving on the Closing the Digital Divide Task Force identified new resources and partnerships today to support California schools preparing for distance learning this fall. The task force, co-chaired by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), has been working since April to help equip all California students with computing devices and connectivity as schools prepare for the new academic year.

Among the resources identified Thursday include more than $5 billion available in the state budget to school districts to acquire devices, strengthen distance learning and address learning gaps. Task Force members also learned more about the progress of a multi-million dollar initiative spearheaded by Intel Corp. to support online learning.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic forces more school districts to resume virtual learning in the fall, this work grows increasingly urgent. But it is not insurmountable: Together, I believe we have the opportunity to rapidly build on the progress we already have made to date to close the digital divide,” Thurmond said. “Hundreds of thousands of students still lack the basic tools to connect to their learning. This is unacceptable, and now is the time to accelerate our efforts so that no student is left behind.”

Source: Resources Identified to Support Distance Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Issues Statement on Governor’s School Guidance – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond issued the following statement today in response to the Governor’s updated guidance for schools:

“I want to commend the Governor for his leadership and for his focus on prioritizing public safety during what might be one of the most challenging experiences we will face in our lifetime. I appreciate the concern he expressed today as a father, his concern for the safety of California’s six million students, and his concern for the health and welfare of our schools’ educators and families.

“I also want to thank the Governor for the work he has led to ensure that our educators have necessary personal protective equipment—already on its way to our 10,000 schools—in the form of millions of units of face coverings, face shields, hand sanitizer, and thermometers.

Source: SPI Issues Statement on Governor’s School Guidance – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

Health & Safety Priority for Reopening Schools – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Wednesday commended school districts across California for making student, teacher, and staff health and safety the foremost priority as they formalize plans for resuming learning this fall.

During his latest virtual news media briefing Wednesday, the State Superintendent encouraged schools to continue designing plans for in-person instruction this fall but urged educators to prepare for the possibility of resuming distance learning based on current health and safety conditions. COVID-19 infections continue to rise, and some of the state’s largest school districts have announced plans to resume learning virtually this fall.

“Everyone shares the desire to reopen schools and agrees that the best place for children to learn and thrive is in the classroom connected with caring teachers and staff. We also understand that schools are more than a place of learning: They provide critical necessities like meals, relationships with caring adults, and support for working parents,” said Thurmond. “But we can only open schools if it is safe to do so. As the largest educational agency in the country, our stance has been consistent during this pandemic: Science, data, and safety must guide any decision about reopening a school. The health and safety of our students and staff is too important to risk.”

Source: Health & Safety Priority for Reopening Schools – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)

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)

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)

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)