State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today joined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) leadership, and state and federal stakeholders on a visit to Betty Reid Soskin Middle School to hear more about the district’s innovative farm-to-school program.
Soskin Middle School serves 450 students—60 percent of whom are considered to be socioeconomically disadvantaged—and is the frontline of the vital work of feeding students healthy school meals through the California Universal Meals Program. The school is named after Betty Reid Soskin, a pioneering Bay Area civil rights activist and the nation’s oldest National Park Ranger, who was designated as an Ambassador to California Education by Thurmond in September 2021.
“As we celebrate National Nutrition Month and National School Breakfast Week, I take great pride in promoting the fact that California became the first state in the United States to implement a statewide universal meals program for all school-age children within the public education system. As a result, millions of children access two free healthy meals during each school day. And not only that, but we have also supported other states in following suit,” Superintendent Thurmond said. “The Universal Meals Program removes the stigma associated with free and reduced-price school meals and is a critical component in the framework for the Transforming California Schools Initiative designed to create one cohesive educational system with integrated, interdependent strategies.”
Source: Efforts to Support Student Access to Healthy Meals – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that 77 high-performing California middle grades schools have been recognized for 2023 by the California Schools to Watch program. There are 36 new California Schools to Watch this year. An additional 41 schools reapplied to the program, demonstrated their sustained progress, and have been redesignated as 2023 California Schools to Watch. Altogether, there are now 186 California Schools to Watch.
“Congratulations to these schools for building systems that support all students from all backgrounds and who bring a wealth of individual and family assets,” Thurmond said. “These middle grades students attend programs that help them believe in themselves, discover their interests, and work toward their academic, life, and career goals. These middle schools are exceptional role models of how educational innovation and an enthusiastic school community can keep students engaged and learning through a critical stage in their K–12 journey.”
Source: SPI Congratulates 2023 California Schools to Watch – Year 2023 (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 fiscal year 2023–24:
“The promise of education will only be fulfilled if we work together to invest in our students and our schools to build the future we want to see,” said Thurmond. “Building on last year’s record investment in education with a historic $22,893 in per-pupil funding, this year’s budget improves upon that by proposing the highest per-pupil spending for the state of California at $23,723. A record $17,519 of this total is Proposition 98 dollars, and the total is up more than $10,000 from 12 years ago.
“With this budget, California continues to improve our investments in education for our schools, our students, and our teachers.
Source: SPI Reacts to Governor’s Proposed Education Budget – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond was sworn in for his second term as the 28th State Superintendent of Public Instruction in a ceremony in Los Angeles today. U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona was in attendance to administer the oath of office. More than 500 educational leaders, school administrators, principals, state legislators, students, friends, and family members convened for the special event held in the historic Cocoanut Grove Theatre at Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles.
“When I took the job as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, I made it clear that education is the key and gateway to a world of opportunities, especially for our vulnerable students and communities. Today, we are much stronger than we ever have been and have created many historic initiatives to transform our schools and uplift our students,” said Thurmond. “As we turn to the next four years, I ask you to help us keep the promise alive for our six million students in the great state of California.”
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho kicked off the event with welcoming remarks. Secretary Cardona administered the oath of office at the ceremony.
Source: Tony Thurmond Sworn In for Second Term – Year 2023 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and counselors from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District visited homes of families today whose students were identified as being chronically absent. These visits are one of many outreach efforts, which also include online guidance and webinars, taken on by Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) to combat the serious issue of chronic absenteeism, defined as missing at least 10 percent of the instructional days that a student was enrolled to attend school.
Thurmond, who worked for a community-based program that focused on reducing chronic absenteeism prior to serving in the California State Assembly, has made this issue a priority of his administration and has started setting up visits to school districts to volunteer directly on outreach efforts.
“We have to recognize this has been a challenging two years, likely the toughest time these students will face in their lifetime,” Thurmond said. “We have seen serious issues around attendance affect every area throughout our state over the past year. Now it’s important we do everything in our power to get those students back in the classroom.”
Source: SPI Takes Measures to Battle Chronic Absenteeism – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today convened a panel of experts to speak about strategies to combat the opioid/fentanyl crisis, the fastest-growing cause of death in California. The webinar was open to all educators and parents, and featured subject matter experts from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, California Health and Human Services, local educational agencies (LEAs), the California Department of Education (CDE), and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Thurmond and participants discussed ways to work together to educate, prevent, and intervene to support and protect students.
In 2012, California suffered 82 deaths attributed to fentanyl overdoses, and last year that number jumped to more than 6,000. Fentanyl deaths accounted for more than 80 percent of all drug-related deaths among California’s young people in 2021. Often, teens think they are purchasing Adderall, OxyContin, Percocet, or Xanax pills, but drug dealers are making fake pills with the cheaper, stronger, and deadlier synthetic drug fentanyl. As a result, most victims ingest fentanyl accidentally, thinking they are using something less dangerous. It can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. It is odorless, tasteless, and colorless, and one pill can be fatal.
Source: SPI Hosts Webinar to Help Combat Opioid Crisis – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)
By John Fensterwald
With the power of incumbency and a funding advantage behind him, California Superintendent of Public Instruction handily won election to a second 4-year term on Tuesday.
Thurmond, 53, a former two-term Democratic Assemblyman from Richmond, was leading Lance Christensen by nearly 2 to 1, 66% to 34% with more than half of the vote reported. It was a larger margin than Gov. Gavin Newsom held over his Republican opponent, State Sen. Brian Dahle.
Source: Tony Thurmond cruises to reelection as California state superintendent | EdSource
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond congratulated the principals of California’s National Blue Ribbon School winners today at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., calling out the long-term positive outcomes they have created for students during very challenging times. California boasts the largest number of public school National Blue Ribbon winners in the nation. Additionally, Thurmond met with Miguel Marco, principal of Wittmann (Helen) Elementary School in Cerritos, who was honored as one of the nine recipients of the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership.
“These California schools have done amazing things to address the education opportunity gap,” Thurmond said. “They are helping us learn, model, and develop refined strategies to scale success and innovation all across our great state. I am so glad the U.S. Department of Education recognized our 29 California Blue Ribbon schools today, and let me also say thank you to our awardees for their persistent hard work in creating a better environment for California students every day.”
Source: SPI Honors California Blue Ribbon Schools in D.C. – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced that 27 schools and school districts were selected through a competitive grant process to receive up to $400,000 each to expand a current dual language immersion program or establish a new one.
“I applaud these schools for taking the initiative to invest in their dual language immersion programs,” Thurmond said. “Schools with strong dual language immersion programs are proven to promote strong academic performance among students from all backgrounds and, in the end, prepare our students for college and careers in a highly competitive global marketplace where speaking more than one language is a critical skill.”
Source: $10 Million Dual Language Immersion Grant – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)
By Kayla Jimenez
In a race that will determine the future for public schools in the Golden State following two years of pandemic closures, student learning loss, crippling enrollment declines and rising chronic absenteeism rates, California voters this fall will choose between very different candidates: incumbent and longtime politician Tony Thurmond and challenger and parent choice advocate Lance Christensen.
Thurmond received 45.9% of the vote in the June primary — short of the 50% needed to avoid a runoff, as voters, upset about the ways schools were handled during the pandemic, split their choices among six other candidates. Christensen took second place with 11.9% of the votes, and will go head to head with Thurmond in the Nov. 8 election to decide who will become the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Source: Incumbent Tony Thurmond, challenger Lance Christensen are heading to a November runoff in race to lead California schools – The Vacaville Reporter
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond named four outstanding students as California’s delegates at the 2022 National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp).
Rhea Jethvani of Oxford Academy in Cypress (Orange County), Maggie Yao of Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego (San Diego County), Aadity Sharma of Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon (Contra Costa County), and Meghana Balabhadruni of California High School in San Ramon (Contra Costa County) were selected for their high achievement and proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
“STEM education—or STEAM education, which aligns the arts with STEM learning—is an incredibly important priority of mine. Not only is a STEAM education a great equalizer for our students with career opportunities—especially for our disadvantaged students and students of color—it’s the foundation for our future thought leaders in science, the individuals we need as our society grapples with climate change,” Superintendent Thurmond said. “In an ever-changing, increasingly complex world, it’s more important than ever that our students are prepared to bring knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions. These are the kinds of skills that students develop in science, technology, engineering, and math, including computer science.”
Source: 2022 National Youth Science Camp Delegates – 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)