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)

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)

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)

SPI Applauds the 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today congratulated 26 California public schools that have been chosen as 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools. This prestigious award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools that close achievement and opportunity gaps and where students achieve high learning standards.

“Congratulations to these schools for creating safe and supportive school climates that set the tone for student achievement during what might be one of the most difficult times in education—and in our lifetimes,” Thurmond said. “I commend all of these schools for meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of all their students as well as finding creative ways to continue closing opportunity gaps during extraordinary circumstances.”

Schools are recognized based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. They are among their state’s highest performing schools based on all student scores, subgroup student scores, and graduation rates.

Source: SPI Applauds the 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI to Ensure CA Students to Read by Third Grade – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced a bold vision for ensuring that every California student will learn to read by third grade by the year 2026 during a virtual press conference on Tuesday. The effort will also include a biliteracy milestone for dual-language learners.

In order to advance this goal, Superintendent Thurmond said a task force will be created to bring together practitioners, advocates, researchers, foundation partners, thought leaders, students, parents, and other experts to identify key strategies for advancing this goal. Efforts are underway in the California Department of Education (CDE) to build out a task force structure and membership, as well as establish when the task force will meet and details on the types of questions they will be tackling. In addition to announcing the task force formation, Superintendent Thurmond affirmed that Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) has agreed to sponsor legislation to help advance this goal.

Source: SPI to Ensure CA Students to Read by Third Grade – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Hosts Safe and Successful Schools Webinar – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond brought experts in the fields of public health and education together on Wednesday for a wide-ranging discussion of COVID-19 data and mitigation efforts that have resulted in the safe reopening of thousands of schools across California.

The Safe and Successful Schools webinar was developed in partnership by the California Department of Education (CDE), the California Department of Public Health, the State Board of Education and the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom.

Dr. Naomi Bardach of the Safe Schools for All team and State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond shared information on California’s robust and multi-layered approach to COVID-19 prevention, which has resulted in no school reopening delays thus far in the fall semester. Bardach and Darling-Hammond shared data that demonstrates how state-supported COVID-19 testing programs, on-site vaccine clinics, universal masking and detailed quarantine guidance have helped keep California students in class and learning despite the troublesome rise of the Delta variant. A recording of the webinar is available on the CDE Facebook page External link opens in new window or tab..

Source: SPI Hosts Safe and Successful Schools Webinar – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

New Multilingual Support Director Appointed – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced today that he has appointed Alesha Moreno-Ramirez as the new Director of the Multilingual Support Division at the California Department of Education (CDE).

The Multilingual Support Division provides information and resources to serve the unique needs of multilingual students so that each person will meet or exceed high standards of achievement in academic and non-academic skills.

“Alesha is an accomplished leader with a depth of knowledge regarding high-level multilingual best practices and policies,” said Thurmond. “She is a strong advocate and champion for all students and believes the linguistic and cultural assets English learners bring to California schools enrich the lives of all of the state’s 6.1 million TK–12 public school students and their communities. She brings to the position extensive experience with equity, multilingual learner rights, and social justice issues along with an unwavering focus and commitment to do what is best to ensure the needs of multilingual, English learner, dual language, migrant, and immigrant students and their families are being met. I am pleased to add an educator with her passion and dedication to the CDE leadership team.”

Source: New Multilingual Support Director Appointed – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)