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Wednesday, September 16, 2020


Círculos High arts partnership helps Santa Ana students find their voice
Amid a public health crisis, social isolation and societal unrest, a Santa Ana school and a local nonprofit are helping students find their voice and build resilience through writing, art and dance. Círculos High at Advanced Learning Academy in the Santa Ana Unified School District isn’t your typical campus. It’s one of 19 XQ Super Schools in the country as part of an initiative dedicated to rethinking high schools. It’s also known for collaborating with community partners to promote unique learning opportunities outside the classroom.

Inside the Outdoors offers virtual field trips and traveling scientist programs; registration now open
A lot has changed since March, and while OCDE’s Inside the Outdoors may be shifting its “hands-on” approach to environmental education to a virtual format, the program remains committed to providing science learning and enrichment to students across Orange County, even if that means they have to do it online. “We are offering the same programs, in the same format students, families and educators are used to — only virtually,” Stephanie Smith, operations manager for Inside the Outdoors, said in a recent video posted on the ITO YouTube page.


Here’s what we know about in-person learning plans for Orange County public school districts
Sept. 22 is the expected date when schools will be green-lit to return students to campus, but don’t expect thousands of public school students to turn off their computers because online learning is over. Public school districts are largely phasing in a return to campus, planning a hybrid of online and in-person learning that will allow them to keep more space between students and teachers. And most are planning a cushion of at least several days before beginning their transition. Here is what we know about public school district plans at this point, and we’ll keep updating this status report as we learn more:

Google doodle honors Orange County’s Felicitas Mendez
Google’s logo doodle on Tuesday honors an Orange County woman who helped lead the fight to end segregation in California schools. In the drawing that appeared on Google’s homepage Sept. 15, a smiling Felicitas Mendez is shown watching a crowd of happy children of all races walk into a school. Her three children, led by her husband Gonzalo, are among them.


Ransomware attack hits Newhall schools, halting online classes
A different sort of virus — ransomware — has taken down the computer system at the Newhall School District, forcing a shutdown of distance learning for some 6,000 elementary school students, officials said. The weekend attack disabled the district’s server and email, which affected all online learning in the district’s 10 elementary schools.


East Bay families march to demand schools reopen for in-person learning
Brentwood, Discovery Bay parents and some teachers and students say ‘No more Zoom!’


First big reform of California’s education funding law awaits governor’s signature
The first significant change to the state’s 7-year-old K-12 funding system, the Local Control Funding Formula, is a signature away from becoming law. But if Gov. Gavin Newsom accepts the recommendation of his advisers at the California Department of Finance and ignores the Legislature’s near-unanimous vote favoring the significant reform, he’ll veto the legislation within the next few weeks.


LAUSD students continue push to fully defund school police department
About 125 people gathered outside the district’s headquarters on Tuesday, Sept. 15, calling for the complete elimination of the Los Angeles School Police Department. At times, some of the rally-goers got into heated exchanges with a smaller group of counter-protesters, though the confrontations did not escalate into full skirmishes.


LA County Schools Are Making Plans To Reopen Campuses For Small Groups
Los Angeles County schools will probably not be able to welcome all students back to campus for at least another six-to-eight weeks, but as of this week, they can bring back students in need of "specialized support and services" in small groups. According to the guidance from county public health officials, schools can welcome back 10% of the total campus enrollment at a time, and should prioritize "students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and children who are English Learners (EL) needing assessments and/or specialized in-school services."


Solar Power Shines On California Schools
California leads the nation in the installation of solar power systems at local schools. A new report card finds a third of the nation’s solar-powered schools are in the Golden State. The state also has 45% of the solar capacity at the nation’s schools. The Generation 180 report found more than 2 million students attend solar-powered schools in California. Some school districts have made solar power a priority, Generation 180 program director Tish Tablan said.


Laguna Beach USD will consider adding lessons and policies to stem racism
The Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Board of Education will review a slate of new measures to “eliminate institutional racism,” including adding an Ethnic Studies curriculum, at a special study session on Wednesday. On Aug. 10, a letter now signed by more than 250 current and former Laguna Beach Unified School District students, parents, and faculty was sent to the school board advocating for the adoption of an anti-racist resolution. The letter follows nationwide protests this summer protesting, among other issues, the deaths of Black people during interactions with law enforcement.

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