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Thursday, November 12, 2020


State Board of Education approves shortened standardized tests for students
The California State Board of Education last week voted unanimously to adopt a shortened version of the Smarter Balanced standardized tests in English language arts and mathematics. Each spring, California students in grades three through eight and 11 take the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments; however in March, after the pandemic forced school districts to close, the U.S. Department of Education waived federal requirements for statewide standardized testing. In September, federal education officials said a similar waiver would likely not be available this school year and that states should prepare to administer tests in the spring.


Orange County remains in red tier as three crucial coronavirus metrics improve
Orange County remains rooted in the red tier of the state’s pandemic tracking system, but with slight gains reported Tuesday, Nov, 10, in all three metrics closely watched by the state health department. The county righted its course this week, after two weeks of rising COVID-19 case rates in late October and early November put it on a path back toward the most-restrictive purple tier. Orange County’s rate of new cases fell to 5.6 cases per day per 100,000 residents from 6 cases per 100,000 last week.

Lawsuit alleges University High administrators ‘ignored and concealed’ sexual abuse by water polo coach
A lawsuit filed earlier this month in Orange County Superior Court alleges that the principal of University High School and the school’s former athletic director failed to act on complaints of sexual abuse of female water polo players by Coach Bahram Hojreh, who was arrested in 2018. [Warning: This story contains graphic content.]


Biden’s education transition team gets California leader: Linda Darling-Hammond
Federal education policy was set for a makeover with Joe Biden’s election -- and in charge of that new look is the already influential Linda Darling-Hammond. Expect less emphasis on charters; more push for teacher development and retention.


Capistrano Unified School District Goes on Hiring Drive as Campuses Reopen
Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) is making a push to hire paraeducators and substitute teachers as part of its reopening plan. Campuses have recently reopened to students for in-person learning, with safety guidelines in place. As of this post, district spokesperson Ryan Burris said they were “completely staffed” but are always open to expanding and maintaining a pool of applicants in case of turnover. The district has increased daily pay rates for substitute teachers to $175, up from previous rates of $125 and $100.


LAUSD to provide daytime supervision to students when schools reopen
When students in Los Angeles Unified return to school on a hybrid schedule, they’ll be able to spend the day in a supervised environment even when they’re not in class so that parents can return to work, Superintendent Austin Beutner told the school board on Tuesday, Nov. 10.


Who’s learning at school and who isn’t? Data show private-public school divide in San Diego County
Private school students in San Diego County are more than twice as likely to be attending school in-person as public school students, according to new data published by the San Diego County Office of Education.


California Department of Education releases data to help districts deal with chronic absenteeism
The data, for the first time, provides information about the types of reasons students are absent during a typical school year in California, which averages about 180 instructional days.


Defeat of Prop. 15 to raise commercial property taxes denies schools more revenue
Voters have rejected a large tax increase on commercial properties, depriving schools of what could have been a significant source of revenue. Backers of Proposition 15, the first major effort to revise the iconic tax limitation initiative, Proposition 13, since its passage in 1978, conceded defeat on Tuesday.

Why Los Angeles County’s neediest school districts don't apply for waivers to reopen campuses
Los Angeles elementary schools located in predominantly low-income areas were expected to be at the front of the line to bring back their youngest students to campus through the county’s waiver program, but they remain largely absent from the application pool. Private schools continue to dominate the county’s reopening ranks. And of the few public schools that have been granted waivers, only one has a high proportion of students who can be considered low-income by qualifying for free and reduced-price meals.

Rising Covid-19 rates halt school reopening plans in three California counties
Surging Covid-19 cases pushed three more counties into the most restrictive tier on the state’s tracking system Tuesday, pausing school district plans to reopen. Sacramento, San Diego and Stanislaus counties moved from red status, or Tier 2, to purple status, or Tier 1, after Covid-19 cases in the counties increased over two weeks. The status change doesn’t impact schools that already opened. But moving to purple can keep schools closed, at least until the rate of infections decrease.


LA County may tap schools as COVID vaccine sites
As the possibility of a vaccine for COVID-19 takes shape, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to look at using schools as a key resource in rolling out vaccinations. Supervisor Janice Hahn recommended that the Department of Public Health work with school districts to evaluate the feasibility of setting up mass vaccination sites at local schools.


San Diego Unified Announces Major COVID Testing Plan For Students & Staff
As San Diego falls into the purple tier of coronavirus restrictions, the San Diego Unified School District is moving forward with an ambitious plan to test all 100,000 students and 15,000 staff members. San Diego Unified’s plan would mean testing the district’s students and employees twice a week.

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