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Monday, September 14, 2020


California approves criteria for new state Seal of Civic Engagement
Educational leaders in California are incentivizing active citizenship and civic awareness by creating a new Seal of Civic Engagement that students can earn for their diplomas, transcripts or certificates of completion. Criteria for the seal was approved last week by the state Board of Education. To secure the distinction, students must exhibit excellence in civic learning, civics-related projects and contributions to their community. They also must demonstrate a keen understanding of the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution and the American democratic system.


Laguna Beach Unified School District applies for elementary school waiver
Laguna Beach Unified School District has joined the waiver pursuit. Orange County’s second smallest district has applied for the state’s elementary school waiver for in-person instruction in hopes of having another option if coronavirus cases in the county begin to trend upward again. Laguna Beach’s application comes as many schools across the county are eyeing a potential start of in-person instruction as soon as Sept. 22, if health conditions continue to move in a positive direction.

Westminster School board mulls a second election-related investigation
Even as Westminster School Board members grappled with a vacancy created when a trustee was charged with address fraud, they confronted questions on Thursday, Sept. 10, about another colleague’s shifting residence situation. Board president Frances Nguyen is under scrutiny for changing precincts to run in the upcoming election. Twice, she listed residencies with the Orange County Registrar of Voters that differed from her longtime home.


Why are so many schools closed when California cleared them to reopen?
The Capistrano Unified School District is ready to go, preparing to start welcoming students back to class on Sept. 28, soon after Orange County is expected to meet the state’s COVID-19 requirements for reopening schools. But 25 miles northwest, Santa Ana Unified School District officials have laid out a more sobering timetable. Elementary schoolchildren probably won’t be back to class until at least November. High school students? Possibly not until early 2021.

L.A. school parents will be able to learn if anyone has coronavirus in their child’s class
Although students and parents will not be returning to their Los Angeles public school anytime soon, when campuses do reopen, L.A. Unified plans to operate a website that will provide detailed information about coronavirus outbreaks at an individual campus and even each classroom. Under the plan anyone could learn the number of positive cases to date and the number of active cases broken down by school, grade and by the small “cohorts” of students who will spend the day together once campuses are able to reopen.

Kids rejoiced when school reopened. Then fire left many students homeless
When Happy Camp Elementary School in rural Northern California started class two weeks ago, it was one of the few in California to reopen classrooms for children during the COVID-19 pandemic. But this week, the Slater fire devastated Happy Camp, destroying 150 homes and killing two people. Half of the elementary school staff lost their homes, and administrators estimate that half of the 109 students are now homeless.


Irvine and Santa Ana Teachers Weigh in on Teaching During The Coronavirus Pandemic
When a global pandemic interrupted the school year in March, teachers had to trade in their classrooms for Zoom calls and teach students from behind a screen with little time to prepare. Now after six months – several schools have opened up in Orange County through waivers and school districts might soon be given the state’s blessing to allow students to return to the classroom. Still some districts, parents and teachers are opting to continue with virtual instruction. Either way, the pandemic has changed what being a teacher looks like. It means a bigger workload and a greater effort to reach students to keep them engaged in lessons.

Pandemic Lays Bare Gaps in Education Access; Educators Call For Change
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a great impact on districts since thousands of teachers and students were thrown into virtual classrooms with little to no time to prepare after the pandemic hit Orange County back in March. The transition favored students with access to technology, health care and whose parents could work from home and exposed a gap between the “have” and “have nots”, Anaheim Union High School District Superintendent Michael Matsuda wrote in an Op-ed for EdSource.


North County schools to start phased reopening
North County school districts are moving toward reopening campuses, with phased plans for in-person instruction that focus on the youngest and most vulnerable students first. Vista, Poway and Oceanside have announced plans for opening campuses to small groups of students this month, including special education students, English learners, and others who need additional help or receive specialized instruction.


UC appeals judge’s prohibition on SAT, ACT scores in admissions
The University of California is appealing a judge’s ruling that prohibits the university from accepting SAT and ACT scores in admission reviews. UC filed the appeal on Wednesday, a week after Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman issued an injunction against the university system, saying “Nondisabled, economically advantaged, and white test-takers have an inherent advantage in the testing process.”


More young people are dying by suicide, and experts aren't sure why
The rate of suicide among those aged 10 to 24 increased nearly 60% between 2007 and 2018, according to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rise occurred in most states, with 42 experiencing significant increases.


Coronavirus: Are Bay Area schools having outbreaks? Good luck finding out
As California’s summer surge of coronavirus cases fades and more schools transition from online distance learning to in-class instruction, it’s likely some students and teachers will be infected. And there’s no guarantee the public will find out about it. Weeks after classrooms began reopening across the country, there’s been little comprehensive information about how many have had outbreaks — and California is one of a number of states saying they aren’t planning to release such information.


LAUSD Has Started Testing Its Staff For COVID-19 — And Students Will Start Getting Invites Soon
After nearly one month of trials and practice runs, Los Angeles public school officials have announced they're ready to start testing all of the district's students and staff members every so often for COVID-19. L.A. Unified School District officials said the first invitations for coronavirus screenings went out last week: some 5,000 district staff working on campuses and their children, who are receiving special on-site child care, took tests on Thursday and Friday. Testing for this group of employees will continue this week.

DeVos Loses Latest Fight Over Rerouting Aid To Private School Students
A controversial rule backed by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and meant to reroute millions of dollars in coronavirus aid to K-12 private school students, has been shut down, at least temporarily. The U.S. Education Department announced Wednesday that the rule is no longer in effect after a federal judge determined that the department had not only "acted beyond its authority" but misinterpreted the will of Congress.


As Union And District Squabble, Parents Say Sacramento City Students With Disabilities Are Left To Struggle
As the dispute between the Sacramento City Teachers’ Association and the school district wages on, parents of students with disabilities are concerned that the ongoing argument is causing harm to the district’s most vulnerable. The district and teachers union are debating, among other distance learning issues, about how Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for students with disabilities are carried out and documented.

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