SPI Champions Budget Package as a Key Win for CA – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

Yesterday’s signing of the 2022–23 state budget package marks another historic year of funding levels for education programs in California. Not only does this budget increase the base funding of the Local Control Funding Formula by approximately $9 billion, a 13 percent increase, it also directs key investments to areas specifically identified by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE), addressing declining enrollment and funding for mental health services, community schools, literacy programs, universal school meals, and programs focused on improving all student outcomes in the wake of the pandemic.

Thurmond issued the following statement in response to the signed budget for the fiscal year 2022–23:

“I am grateful to the Legislature and the Governor for a budget that prioritizes recruiting mental health care providers to serve in our schools, addressing learning gaps, and investing in people and programs to serve all students, especially those most vulnerable. As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, California public schools will see a much-needed infusion of investments at a time when students and schools, especially those that have been traditionally underserved, require more support than ever before.

Source: SPI Champions Budget Package as a Key Win for CA – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

CA Wins National Award for Education Innovation – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that California has been named as winner of the 2022 Frank Newman Award for State Innovation, the nation’s preeminent award for education innovation. The annual award—now in its 24th year and presented by the Education Commission of the States (ECS)—recognizes a state or U.S. territory that is enacting education reforms or implementing programs to improve student outcomes on a large scale.

“This is an incredible honor, and while the work continues, we’re proud of this national recognition that shows how California is improving educational outcomes for its students, closing equity gaps, and transforming education for students from prekindergarten to adulthood,” said Thurmond. “State and local leaders, educators, and school staff put in tremendous effort every day to ensure our students and families heal from the effects of the pandemic, recover, and thrive.”

Source: CA Wins National Award for Education Innovation – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

$3 Billion in Grants for Community Schools – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

The State Board of Education (SBE) today approved an historic $649 million in California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP) grants—much needed funding that will help hundreds of under-resourced schools improve student outcomes by creating the right conditions for learning.

“We know that the best learning environment is one where students are healthy and happy and surrounded by knowledgeable and caring adults attuned to their needs,” said State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond. “Unfortunately, schools in communities with high rates of poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity lack the funds to address student mental health issues, improve wellness, and support learning recovery. That’s why this program is so exciting: Well-resourced community schools have the potential to transform students’ lives and improve the well-being of families, thus uplifting entire communities.”

Source: $3 Billion in Grants for Community Schools – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

Thurmond Issues Statement on Governor’s May Revise – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today issued the following statement in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s revised budget for the fiscal year 2022–23:

“As we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, California public schools will see a much needed infusion of investments at a time when students and schools, especially those that have been traditionally underserved, require more support than ever before. The revised budget directs a total of $128.3 billion to education, lifts up the most critical needs including historic funding for school mental health, recruitment and retention of teachers, and literacy strategies necessary to allow students to heal and recover after two very challenging years.

Source: Thurmond Issues Statement on Governor’s May Revise – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces 2022 Civic Learning Award Recipients – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that 25 schools will receive the 2022 Civic Learning Award, which honor public schools’ efforts to engage students in civic learning. The awards celebrate programs, projects, classes, and individuals engaging students in civics, particularly during the pandemic. Now in its 10th year, the awards program is co-sponsored by State Superintendent Thurmond and Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and is part of the Chief Justice’s Civic Learning Initiative.

“These schools have deftly kept students engaged in civic learning through another tough year,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “Through these programs, now more important than ever, students are encouraged to have an open dialogue about the social issues that inspire them to learn about our democratic system. During my time as a State Legislator, I authored the bill that became the law that provides student school board members the ability to vote on a school board. My office door continues to be open to students; I believe that their voices are key to transforming our education system.”

Source: SPI Announces 2022 Civic Learning Award Recipients – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI-Sponsored Bills Progress to Becoming Law – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today celebrated several new pieces of legislation he is sponsoring making it one step closer to becoming law, thus improving the lives of California students and their road to success in the classroom.

One of those key pieces of legislation is Senate Bill (SB) 1229, authored by Senator Mike McGuire (D-North Coast). On Wednesday, Thurmond testified at the Senate Education Committee in support of the bill, which will add 10,000 mental health professionals to support schools and youth throughout the state.

“Given the struggles students have faced during the pandemic, I believe that this could be one of the most important bills that we act on this year. At this time, addressing the social–emotional needs of our students is job number one,” said Thurmond.

Source: SPI-Sponsored Bills Progress to Becoming Law – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

2022 CA Pivotal Practice Awardees Announced – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced the winners of the newly created 2022 California Pivotal Practice (CAPP) Award Program. The award program is being utilized by California in 2022 in place of the California Distinguished Schools (DS) Program. It celebrates schools and districts that implemented an innovative practice during the 2020–21 school year, when California required schools to offer distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m incredibly proud of these schools and districts for their creativity, dedication, and innovation in the face of adversity,” Thurmond said. “These schools led incredible efforts to engage students, distribute technology, provide meals, and support the social and emotional well-being of students during an incredibly difficult time for schools and families.”

Source: 2022 CA Pivotal Practice Awardees Announced – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

2022 CA Green Ribbon Schools Announced – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, today on Earth Day, announced that 18 schools, two school districts, and one county office of education earned 2022 California Green Ribbon Schools awards. Among the state honorees are five “Green Achievers” nominated by the State Superintendent to receive U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition. The U.S. Department of Education today confirmed all five Green Achievers as ED-GRS honorees, recognized for conserving resources while promoting health and environmental literacy. California’s honorees are among 27 schools, five districts, and four postsecondary institutions being honored nationally.

“This year, California Green Ribbon Schools maintained sustainable practices and environmental education through the unprecedented challenges created by the global pandemic,” Thurmond said. “Their flexibility and ingenuity helped them produce leading-edge models for improved indoor air quality, well-designed outdoor classrooms, and meaningful environmental education. I also want to recognize that more than half of our award-winning sites are within some of the state’s highest-needed communities. We are proud of how California’s Green Ribbon Schools provide our students with the skills needed to lead impactful environmental change in their local areas.”

Source: 2022 CA Green Ribbon Schools Announced – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

CDE: Enrollment data shows fifth year of decline in K-12 schools – The Vacaville Reporter

By Richard Bammer

For the fifth time in as many years, California’s K-12 schools show dips in enrollments, deepened in part by “two challenging years” of the COVID-19 pandemic, state education officials said.

In its annual snapshot of fall enrollment, the state Department of Education on Monday released public school enrollment data for the current academic year, showing declines that “are consistent with national data trends,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said in a press release.

He noted the declines began before the pandemic and are projected to continue into the future and called the information “crucial to understanding how best to plan for a robust recovery in years ahead.”

Source: CDE: Enrollment data shows fifth year of decline in K-12 schools – The Vacaville Reporter

SSPI Announces 2022 PAEMST Finalists – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond honored six outstanding mathematics and science teachers today who are finalists from California for the 2022 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers have persevered through the challenges of the past year and are prime examples of excellence in the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math to their students,” Thurmond said. “Their incredible efforts inspire STEM and computer science students to think creatively and critically in the classroom in preparation for the challenges of tomorrow.”

The PAEMST program is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Presidential Award recipients are honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., and receive a $10,000 special award from the NSF.

Source: SSPI Announces 2022 PAEMST Finalists – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Names Alice Waters CA Education Ambassador – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today proudly recognized Alice Waters—chef, author, restaurateur, food activist, and educator—as an Ambassador to California Education, during National School Breakfast Week.

Waters and Thurmond visited Michelle Obama School in the West Contra Costa Unified School District earlier this week, where they helped launch Project Cereal External link opens in new window or tab., an initiative with partner Conscious Kitchen, that is one of the nation’s first programs to feed students organic foods daily.

Waters joins distinguished Education Ambassadors Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dolores Huerta, Dr. Karen Korematsu, and Betty Reid Soskin in demonstrating outstanding dedication and contributions to support the education of California’s students.

Source: SPI Names Alice Waters CA Education Ambassador – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Reaffirms Commitment to Literacy Programs – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and partners are redoubling efforts to help students recover and expand literacy skills amidst national reports showing declines in student reading levels during the pandemic.

“Reading is a gateway skill. When children learn to read, they can read to learn anything,” said Thurmond. “We also know that when students don’t learn to read by third grade, they are at greater risk to drop out of school, and they are at greater risk to end up in the criminal justice system. We are committed in our work to support learning recovery of our students and are making every effort to strengthen literacy programs in our state.”

Last September, Thurmond launched an initiative to ensure students learn to read by third grade by 2026. In order to advance this goal, Thurmond pledged to secure one million book donations for students in need.Through a partnership with Renaissance Learning, Inc., students downloaded more than five million free online books as part of the literacy efforts.

Source: SPI Reaffirms Commitment to Literacy Programs – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Supports Mental Health Clinicians Bill – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Senator Mike McGuire (D-North Coast) today joined mental health leaders and professionals to urge support of a bill that would provide grants of $25,000 to aspiring clinicians who commit to serving two years in communities of high need. Seeking solutions to lower student-to-counselor ratios in schools is not a new effort or one unique to California. However, through Senate Bill (SB) 1229, California is pursuing an ambitious plan to help recruit 10,000 professionals to help support the growing mental health needs of students. The California Department of Education (CDE) is proud to partner with Senator McGuire on this priority legislation.

“During this pandemic, our students have experienced extreme levels of depression, we’ve seen a doubling in the percentage of Black students who have expressed suicidal feelings, and we know there’s an increase in hospitalizations for young people and adults,” said Superintendent Thurmond. “California has had enough mental health professionals to provide services to about 30 percent of those who needed it even before the pandemic, and those challenges were even greater in rural communities. We’ve got to build out our school workforce in many places: teachers and classified staff and certainly mental health clinicians in order to meet the needs of our six million students.”

Source: SPI Supports Mental Health Clinicians Bill – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SSPI Celebrates Read Across America Day – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

As part of a celebration of Read Across America Day, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond yesterday visited Jordan Academy of Language and Computer Science in Orange, Calif., to read to students. Superintendent Thurmond today also partnered with Assemblymember Mia Bonta to introduce Assembly Bill (AB) 2465, a bill that would establish a grant program for community literacy and education enrichment through partnerships between schools and community-based organizations.

Superintendent Thurmond read “Say Something!” by Peter H. Reynolds after discussing the importance of literacy with students. Read Across America Day is an annual reading and awareness program of the National Education Association, which calls for schools and parents across the country to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.

Source: SSPI Celebrates Read Across America Day – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

CA Middle Schools Selected as “Schools to Watch” – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that 16 high-performing California middle schools have been recognized by the California Schools to Watch program. Another 31 schools reapplied to the program, demonstrated their sustained progress, and have been re-designated as 2022 “California Schools to Watch.”

“Congratulations to these innovative and exceptional schools for creating systems that support the needs of all students—all while navigating extraordinarily challenging conditions during the pandemic,” Thurmond said. “These schools are outstanding examples of how educational innovation and a dedicated school community can keep students engaged and learning through a critical stage in their K–12 journey.”

Source: CA Middle Schools Selected as “Schools to Watch” – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

National Nutrition Month—March 2022 – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

The California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division commends schools across the state for providing excellent service and continuous access to school meals and snacks. Since the beginning of this pandemic, school food service professionals, school leaders, and staff have been on the frontlines providing nutritious meals that support not only students, but families and communities as well. We continue to feel immense gratitude and admiration for your dedication and resilience.

March is National Nutrition Month® (NNM®). This month is an outstanding time to celebrate and recognize both the importance of nutritious foods and the role that food service staff play in supporting student health, learning, and school meals (on or off-campus).

This year’s theme is Celebrate a World of Flavors. Understanding the multiplicity of cultures and celebrating flavors from around the world helps us to recognize and appreciate our diversity. The theme encourages us to be curious, enjoy our differences, and expand our palettes. In our school communities, we bring together many different backgrounds, cultural food habits, and taste preferences. During the month of March, I encourage you to Celebrate a World of Flavors, as well as the students, families and staff that enrich our collective experiences by sharing their food cultures with us.

Source: National Nutrition Month—March 2022 – Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces 2022 Model Continuation High Schools – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that 36 schools throughout the state were recognized as Model Continuation High Schools (MCHS) for 2022.

“These model schools provide invaluable resources and academic opportunities to our high-needs students, who often are dealing with difficult life events,” said Thurmond. “Students reap the benefits of social and emotional learning, mentorship programs, student wellness, and restorative justice practices, among other exemplary methods. The efforts of teachers and administrators at our Model Continuation High Schools provide students with the social support, goal-setting, and coping skills that they need to succeed in the academic setting and in their lives after high school.”

Source: SPI Announces 2022 Model Continuation High Schools – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces Support for Senate Bill 830 – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) today joined state school leaders and partners to urge support of a bill that would inject new funding into schools using a more equitable funding calculation and finance efforts to address chronic absenteeism and truancy.

Senate Bill (SB) 830, co-sponsored by State Superintendent Thurmond, would augment California’s education funding system, which is now based on average attendance with additional funding based on average enrollment. This modification would help schools be funded more equitably and help schools struggling with absenteeism—and all schools—receive the financial support they need to recover from the pandemic and thrive in the future.

“With the pandemic already causing so many difficulties across schools and in people’s lives, the last thing that should happen is for schools to face additional economic uncertainty,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “SB 830 gives districts predictability on how they receive funding and gives them important resources to address what has been one of our most perplexing challenges: dealing with chronic absenteeism in ways we have not yet seen before. It will put students and schools on a better path to further close opportunity and education gaps.”

Source: SPI Announces Support for Senate Bill 830 – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

Applications for Free Summer Meal Programs – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that applications are available for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO), both federally funded, state-administered programs that serve free meals to children eighteen and younger when school is out of session. Summer meals provide children with access to essential nutrition during school closures and the summer break.

Summer meal programs have provided children with essential meal service throughout the pandemic. From January 2021 through November 2021, nutrition programs including SFSP and SSO have provided more than 967 million meals to children throughout the state.

“Our summer meal sponsors were critical in allowing us to meet the demands brought on by the COVID crisis, and I commend our school districts and other organizations that made these meals possible,” Thurmond said. “The ability to feed the most vulnerable kids throughout the state, in multiple locations, would not be possible if these organizations did not participate.”

Source: Applications for Free Summer Meal Programs – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces “A Trusted Space” Initiative – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced A Trusted Space: Redirecting Grief to Growth, a film-based program to help address increasing mental health challenges faced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by the nonprofit All It Takes, the program provides educators and school staff across the state with strategies to build safe and trusted spaces for K–12 students.

Recognizing that COVID-19 has impacted our lives for almost two years and has caused anxiety, grief, stress, and a myriad of losses for our school communities, State Superintendent Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) have worked to expand school-based health services. These include the formation of the new Office of School-Based Health Programs; the addition of a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Consultant; and sponsoring legislation to recruit 10,000 mental health clinicians. Thurmond, who worked in social work and school-based mental health, has vowed to help California lead the way in providing for mental health needs in our schools.

Source: SPI Announces “A Trusted Space” Initiative – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)