SPI Responds to Governor’s Proposed 2022 Budget – 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 proposed education budget for the fiscal year 2022–23:

“This once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has created extraordinary challenges for our students, families, and educators. We must now meet those challenges and continue to transform California schools. The Governor’s proposed budget will almost triple the amount of per-pupil investment from a decade ago and will allow the state to address historic inequities, learning loss, and the social-emotional needs of our students. I want to thank the Governor for the attention and focus on our students and schools in a time when we need all the resources possible to help students heal, recover, and thrive.

“As with last year, California continues to need increased investments in mental health to address the severe trauma our students have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we know will have a lasting impact on their ability to learn and succeed through the rest of their lives. The Governor’s budget proposal aligns with and reflects many of the CDE’s priorities and my priorities.

Source: SPI Responds to Governor’s Proposed 2022 Budget – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

CDE Releases Student Data for 2020-21 – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

The California Department of Education (CDE) today released student performance data that provide baseline indicators of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted schools and students.

To prevent the spread of virus before development and widespread distribution of vaccines, most students learned from home for most of 2020–21 and returned to campuses in the spring either full-time or with hybrid (in-class and remote) instruction.

The 2020–21 data affirm both the challenges created by the pandemic and California’s commitment to helping students recover from COVID-19 via a bold slate of historic investments in student learning, health, and well-being. The $123.9 billion education package signed by Governor Newsom in July provides the highest level of K–12 funding in history, including the expansion of after-school and summer programs to accelerate learning and the creation of full-service community schools to address student mental health and wellness needs.

Source: CDE Releases Student Data for 2020-21 – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

New Workgroup to Address School Staff Shortages – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today the formation of a working group to address staff shortages being experienced in California schools. Schools across the country are seeing workforce shortages as is the case in every sector in the country due to the pandemic. California schools are struggling to find teachers, substitute teachers, bus drivers, and other staff during this period.

The workgroup will bring together school district leaders and representatives of associations that represent schools and staff including certificated staff, classified staff and administrators. Representatives from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) will also work with the group. The goal of the group will be to brainstorm strategies that can help schools increase staff size.

Source: New Workgroup to Address School Staff Shortages – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Lays Out Needed Resources for CA Schools – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today held a press conference at George Washington Preparatory High School, a site that also hosts a health clinic providing COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and boosters. There he outlined a number of key proposals to provide resources and supports to allow students to heal, recover, and thrive.

Thurmond began by addressing programs helping California schools get through this extremely difficult period of the pandemic, and that will transform California schools, including universal meals, universal transitional kindergarten for every four-year old, and universal expanded learning programs offering tutoring, mentoring, and coaching—because learning happens before school, during school, and after school.

“We are focused on recovery and dealing with impacts, but we cannot lessen our efforts to close the learning gaps that we were trying to close even before the pandemic,” said Thurmond. “We want to think about what we are going to do for California schools for the next several years to help them, and help our students to thrive.”

Source: SPI Lays Out Needed Resources for CA Schools – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces Plan for Statewide Mentoring Program – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced plans to build a statewide mentoring program to help all California students and is calling for participation from mentoring organizations in the state that would like to be part of the initiative. The goal of the effort is to connect caring adult volunteers to California students who need extra support to be successful in school.

“When I first started thinking about running to become State Superintendent, I always thought that in order to close opportunity and achievement gaps, there needed to be a program to make sure no student falls through the cracks—a way to put individual focus on students who need additional help,” said Thurmond. ” I intended to pilot such a program when my term started, but that plan got pushed to the side when the pandemic began. I can see how a program like this is needed even more right now because of how the pandemic has impacted the learning and social-emotional needs of California students.”

Source: SPI Announces Plan for Statewide Mentoring Program – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces $2 Million in Grants Available – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that California community-based organizations will be able to apply for grants to address the social isolation experienced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of its ongoing efforts to address the pandemic’s continued impact on students, the California Department of Education (CDE) will award grants of up to $250,000* each to community-based organizations that can demonstrate their ability to partner with schools and districts to provide programs and supports to offset the social isolation experienced by students during the pandemic and help them build healthy social connections.

The application process and criteria are available on the CDE website today, December 8, 2021, and the deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 7, 2022. The grants are funded through a $2 million appropriation in the 2021–22 California State Budget (AB 130, Chapter 44, Sec. 164).

Source: SPI Announces $2 Million in Grants Available – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

2022 U.S. Senate Youth Program Students Announced – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced two outstanding high school students to represent California in the 60th annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP), which is sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation.

Joleen Bakalova of Loma Linda (San Bernardino County), a junior at Citrus Valley High School in the Redlands Unified School District, and Sneha Revanur of San Jose (Santa Clara County), a senior at Evergreen Valley High School in the East Side Union High School District, were selected for their extraordinary leadership skills, significant commitments to their schools and communities, and academic and extracurricular achievements as California’s delegates in this highly competitive program.

“I am amazed at what these incredible students have accomplished already in their young lives in their schools and communities and know they will represent California well in this program,” Thurmond said. “I am impressed and inspired by their strong leadership, passion, and commitment to making positive change and doing good in this world. Their advocacy work on issues such as mental health awareness, civic engagement, civil rights, social justice, equity, and desire to improve the lives of those who are disadvantaged gives me confidence that our future is in good hands.”

Source: 2022 U.S. Senate Youth Program Students Announced – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces New Digital Reading Partnership – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced a partnership with Renaissance that will provide unlimited access to myON digital books and daily news articles for all pre-K to grade twelve students in California from December 1, 2021, through January 31, 2022.

This initiative aims to give students The Gift of Literacy External link opens in new window or tab. during the winter break by providing opportunities to engage in reading at home, at school, and in the community and is part of the Superintendent Thurmond’s statewide literacy campaign to help all California students reach the goal of literacy by third grade, by the year 2026.

“I encourage every parent and student to use this free service to continue to read over the holidays,” said Superintendent Thurmond. “This is a great opportunity for our families to share the joy of reading and establish routines that support literacy growth for our students.” Literacy is a key benchmark in measuring and predicting student success, which is why Superintendent Thurmond is taking bold action to help students meet this important milestone. “We hope that free access to thousands of digital books will create and cultivate a lifelong love of reading that can continue to be nurtured by our school and local libraries,” Superintendent Thurmond said.

Source: SPI Announces New Digital Reading Partnership – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Applauds National ESEA Distinguished Schools – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today congratulated two California schools for receiving recognition as 2021 National Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Distinguished Schools—formerly known as National Title I Distinguished Schools. Hall Middle School in the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District and West Valley High School in the Anderson Union High School District are two of up to 100 schools throughout the country being recognized.

“Congratulations to principals Toni Brown and Joshua Mason, as well as all of the educators, staff, administrators, parents, and students at these schools,” said Thurmond. “Not only were these two schools already named 2021 California Distinguished Schools, they’re also being recognized for their excellent work closing opportunity gaps among student groups and ensuring academic growth for all students.”

Hall Middle School was selected because it performed exceptionally well in Category 1 of the qualifying categories (exceptional student performance and academic growth for two or more consecutive years), while West Valley High School performed well in Category 2 (closing the achievement gap between student groups for two or more consecutive years).

Source: SPI Applauds National ESEA Distinguished Schools – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces Plan to Transform California Schools – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond joined other California Department of Education (CDE) leaders at a press event today to announce the integration of a host of programs and strategies to help transform education in California schools, along with student and family supports. State Superintendent Thurmond is seeking input on needs and challenges and will be touring the state to get feedback from school leaders, family members, and students on how to best implement these programs to provide the most benefits for everyone involved.

“The pandemic, as challenging as it has been, provided us the opportunity to sharply focus our work. Our students are resilient, but we need to recover and close the gaps and disproportionate impacts exacerbated especially on students of color,” Thurmond said. “Ironically, it is in this pandemic that we now have resources never seen before to address some of the biggest needs in education. I am grateful to the Governor, Legislature, and people of California for partnering with us and providing us with this incredible opportunity to make a change. Now that we have this support, I look forward to inviting California students and family members to share ideas on how to improve education in California and hear feedback from school leaders on how to support the smooth implementation of these programs for California schools.”

Source: SPI Announces Plan to Transform California Schools – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Leads Task Force on Black Student Achievement – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

Calling out the impacts that systemic and institutional racism have had on Black students, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond formally launched a statewide task force on Improving Black Student Achievement. Last week, the task force held its first meeting led by Thurmond and several co-chairs named to guide the work of the task force.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work we’re undertaking with this group,” said Superintendent Thurmond. “Many of us have been working on closing opportunity gaps for years, yet many of our Black students in California are still facing environmental factors that affect their learning before they even get into the classroom. Now is the time to focus and make real change.”

The task force identified five issue areas which will be the basis for working groups: The school-to-prison pipeline (including suspension, chronic absenteeism, and graduation), teacher diversity, academic achievement (including reading and math assessments), mental health, and housing insecurity (including homelessness and foster youth). The task force includes 30 members—including notable leaders from the fields of education, higher education, research, criminal justice reform, and the foundation and nonprofit sectors—as well as the following five co-chairs, who bring leadership and expertise in the area of improving Black student achievement:

Source: SPI Leads Task Force on Black Student Achievement – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SBE Acts to Improve Teacher Quality & More – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

The California State Board of Education this week moved to increase the number of highly trained teachers serving high-need students; approve new optional arts and world language instructional materials; adopt new procedures to ensure that increased and improved services are realized for low-income students, English learners, and foster youth; and strengthen the state’s “whole child” approach to education.

“I am pleased by the many steps taken by our Board over the course of the last two days to enrich the education of all California students. The policies we approved will improve classroom learning in the arts and world languages; ensure attention to the needs of the most vulnerable students; create stronger relationships with parents and communities; and broaden the availability of health, mental health, and other supports for children who need them the most,” said State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond. “I appreciate the staff of the California Department of Education and the State Board for working to shape implementation of these exciting initiatives. These measures set California students on a course for not only overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 but thriving in years to come.”

Source: SBE Acts to Improve Teacher Quality & More – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

First-Ever CDE Student Stability Reports Announced – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

Chief Deputy Superintendent Mary Nicely announced today the release of the first ever “Stability Rate” (SR) reports created by the California Department of Education (CDE). These reports were developed in response to requests from educators, policy makers, and educational partners across the state, and identify the number and percent of students who receive a “full year” of learning in the same school.

“I commend the work of the Analysis, Measurement & Accountability Reporting Division at the CDE in creating this report, which is another valuable tool for us to identify and assist our most vulnerable students,” Nicely said. “While most students do not move schools, some students move schools once or twice, and very few students move a lot. State and national foster youth advocacy groups have been requesting for years that California publish this data, since it is a great conversation starter on the rights of our vulnerable students on still attending the same school even if they are forced to relocate.”

Source: First-Ever CDE Student Stability Reports Announced – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

2022 CA Teachers of the Year Announced – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today named five exceptional educators as the 2022 California Teachers of the Year. These educators are ambassadors for the profession and serve as representatives of the state for the calendar year. Thurmond, who has 12 years of direct experience in education— teaching life skills classes, after-school programs, and career training—said he is thrilled to honor five outstanding and talented teachers who have gone above and beyond during a challenging time in education, and in our lives.

“In what may be the toughest ever time for California families, students and educators, these five innovative and caring teachers have made profound differences in the lives of their students and communities,” said Thurmond. “I’m proud that these educators are receiving this prestigious honor for their continued effort to connect with students even during unimaginable circumstances, to address their needs, and support them in any way they can.”

Source: 2022 CA Teachers of the Year Announced – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

What’s New in Independent Study for 2021–22? – Letters (CA Dept of Education)

The following information has been compiled to provide easy access to new updates, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and other information pertaining to Independent Study for the 2021–22 school year. The California Department of Education (CDE) remains committed to providing support to local educational agencies (LEAs) as they implement Independent Study requirements. As we receive questions, we continue to create and share helpful updates to resources to support LEAs through this process.

Overview

CDE provides key information and resources on Independent Study programs, including FAQs and guidance for the provision of services, on the CDE Independent Study web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/eo/is/. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding legislative amendments to the Independent Study framework for 2021–22, CDE is providing a series of updates to guidance and resources for schools for the current year. In addition to its typical uses, this school year, Independent Study is the vehicle being used to provide families with an alternative to in-person instruction as well as for use by schools for students who cannot participate in classroom instruction due to temporary quarantine or COVID-19 caused school closure. Contact IndependentStudy@cde.ca.gov for general questions.

Source: What’s New in Independent Study for 2021–22? – Letters (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Launches New Vaccine Outreach Effort – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced the ¡Ándale! ¿Qué Esperas? public education partnership with AltaMed Community Health Network. This critical campaign expands access to lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines throughout the state of California. This vaccine effort is focused on communities hit hardest to keep our schools safely open so that our students can recover from learning loss caused by the pandemic. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected millions of Latinos throughout California, and the ¡Ándale! ¿Qué Esperas? campaign aims to get 450,000 Latinos vaccinated in medically underserved areas of California through grassroots COVID-19 vaccine outreach, education, and support services, including a statewide call center. In addition to getting access to COVID-19 vaccines, the call centers will connect our families to five regional health care partners who will also provide much needed social services.

“We are helping schools connect with community health centers to not only get the vaccines for eligible students and family members, but also to help find the best times and spaces to provide the vaccinations like mobile clinics at convenient locations or even pop-up sites at school events,” said Thurmond. “Additionally, we want everyone to know about the call center that will connect callers to the closest vaccination site at a certain time and can take questions in English and Spanish—call (855) YA-ANDALE or (855) 922-6325.”

Source: SPI Launches New Vaccine Outreach Effort – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces Early Childhood Legislation – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond joined Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders at a press conference today at Sunset Elementary School in Fresno for the signing of legislation marking historic and unprecedented investment in early childhood education that will expand opportunities for every child across the state.

Of the bills signed today, Assembly Bill 1363, sponsored by Superintendent Thurmond and authored by Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-Arleta), will develop procedures for state preschool contractors to identify and report data on dual-language learners. As part of the Governor’s $123.9 billion pre-K and K–12 education package, California will be providing free, high-quality, inclusive pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds beginning in the 2022–23 school year, with full implementation by 2025–26.

“We know from research and from experience that the early years are critical to support a child’s learning and development,” said Thurmond. “Universal pre-K is a first of its kind effort and California’s opportunity to ensure every child—regardless of background, race, ZIP code, immigration status, or income level—gets the fair start they need and deserve on their path to success. I’m proud to have sponsored the Universal Transitional Kindergarten legislation and to partner with the Governor and the Legislature on implementing this major step forward.”

Source: SPI Announces Early Childhood Legislation – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces Effort to Provide One Million Books – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced a statewide effort to secure donations with the goal of providing one million books for students and their families. This book drive happens in conjunction with a statewide literacy campaign launched last month that includes a task force working toward the goal of helping all California students reach the goal of literacy by third grade, by the year 2026. Superintendent Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) are working closely with First 5 California and are seeking further partnerships to reach the goal of providing one million books to students and families.

“Our literacy effort is multifaceted, with legislation that will be introduced in 2022 for providing resources and advancing literacy and biliteracy goals through professional learning and family engagement—as well as this effort of to get a million books into the hands of California students and their families,” Thurmond said. “Students who can’t read by the third grade are at greater risk to drop out and end up in the criminal justice system, so this effort is more than just reaching a literacy milestone—it’s also about equity, justice, and putting students on a path that can create a lifetime of success.”

Source: SPI Announces Effort to Provide One Million Books – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Names Statewide Literacy Task Force Co-Chairs – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced co-chairs for the new statewide literacy task force he launched to help all California students reach the goal of literacy by third grade, by the year 2026. The effort will also include a biliteracy milestone for dual-language learners. The task force co-chairs bring leadership and expertise in the area of improving literacy and are listed below.

“Now is the time in California public education when we have all the resources and conditions in place to make good on a promise of reaching literacy by third grade, a key benchmark in measuring and predicting student success,” Thurmond said. “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—and we have to give them the resources to put them on a path for lifelong learning as opposed to a path that increases the likelihood that they will drop out of school or end up in the criminal justice system.”

Source: SPI Names Statewide Literacy Task Force Co-Chairs – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Applauds Student Vaccine Mandate – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond applauded Governor Newsom’s action that would add the COVID-19 vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person school attendance—such as measles, mumps, and rubella—as stated by the Health and Safety Code. It’s anticipated the COVID-19 vaccine mandate would be fully implemented to grades seven through twelve on July 1, 2022. A vaccine mandate for kindergarten through sixth grades would follow at a later date. A vaccine mandate for all kindergarten through grade twelve staff is scheduled to be implemented at the same time as students in grades seven through twelve.

“I have no doubt that today’s announcement by the Governor will lead to safer schools and safer communities,” stated Thurmond. “I look forward to working with the Governor, his administration, school districts, and school communities across the state to implement this important change.”

Source: SPI Applauds Student Vaccine Mandate – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)