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Thursday, May 21, 2020


Surprise! Six exemplary educators just learned they’re Orange County’s Teachers of the Year
This year’s Orange County Teacher of the Year announcements looked a bit different. Conspicuously missing was the big yellow bus, dubbed the “Prize Patrol,” which has traditionally carried the county superintendent, camera crews, reporters, sponsors and OCDE representatives from school to school to share the good news.

COVID-19 update: Fliers in multiple languages provide guidance for getting tested at no cost
OCDE continues to track the latest developments related to the COVID-19 respiratory illness while working closely with partner agencies including the Orange County Health Care Agency and local school districts.


Power of ‘parentese’: Speaking it can make your child a faster learner
Talk. Read. Sing. You’ve most likely seen the commercials from First 5 California encouraging parents to engage with their babies on a daily basis. Studies have shown that regular language interaction and engagement with loving adults in the earliest days of a child’s life help with brain development. “Since its inception, Talk. Read. Sing. has become one of the most successful public health awareness efforts in the nation,” said Erin Gabel, First 5 California’s deputy director.


California’s smallest districts plan ‘socially distant’ in-person graduations this spring
Many California high school seniors will be tossing their grad caps up in the air via webcams this spring. But at Lucerne Valley High in San Bernardino County’s rural high desert, nearly 50 seniors, many of whom have gone to school together for 13 years, will walk the stage in person at their commencement ceremony.

UC may allow partial campus reopenings in the fall
If they reopen, campuses would at first require face coverings, limit class sizes, ban audiences at sports events.

California schools can't reopen safely without more federal dollars, state schools chief says
California schools will not be able to reopen safely next school year unless they receive additional federal dollars, said California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond on Wednesday. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed May budget revision would reduce funding to school districts by about $7 billion. The proposal includes a cut of $6.5 billion that is allocated through the Local Control Funding Formula, which directs additional funding to high-needs students — low-income, foster, and homeless students and English learners.


Sweetwater School District Librarians’ Jobs Are On The Line When Students Need Them Most
A month after the Sweetwater Union High School District voted to eliminate all of its librarians, the pandemic arrived, pushing them into the front lines of the transition to distance learning. The school district’s board of trustees voted in February to lay off more than 200 employees, which included all 23 of its librarians. Since then, librarians have been working overtime to distribute laptops, help teachers find course materials and assist students with technical issues.


Laguna Beach school employees serve students at a distance
Top of the World Elementary media specialist Nikki Romano brings storytime home to students by recording herself reading illustrated books including “Can I Be Your Dog” and “The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors” and posting the videos to a private Youtube channel.


Whittier Union’s seniors pick up grad materials for delayed ceremonies
Whittier Union High School District’s graduations have been postponed until July, but students this week still are picking up their materials. Originally, graduations were scheduled for the first week of June. Students at the district’s five comprehensive high schools either have or will pick up special yard signs, caps and gowns, graduation products, medals and other items as part of a drive-up pickup.


Big cuts could hit little Californians: $1 billion in preschool and child care dollars at risk
Even the littlest Californians have not been spared in the governor’s big proposal to cut a budget decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ambitious plans to expand free preschool for low-income children and increase state support for child care now are on the chopping block. He also has proposed cuts to existing, early childhood funding that advocates worry could force child care providers to reduce the number of kids they serve, or even close their businesses.


California educators: Expect ‘hybrid’ classrooms in the fall
The California schools superintendent said Wednesday he expects school for the state’s 6 million students to resume as usual in late August or September but with classes that look radically different to maintain social distancing standards. Superintendent Tony Thurmond said he expects a mix of in-person and distance learning with fewer children in classes, hallways and other common areas as campuses try to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Students will likely wear masks, as will teachers and staff.

California education chief says schools can’t open without masks
California has a major goal to meet before schools can reopen: acquiring masks for teachers and more than 6 million students. Local school districts will decide when they will welcome students back to physical classrooms and the state is not mandating a common opening date, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said Wednesday. But he made one thing clear: Personal protective equipment is a must.

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