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Wednesday, December 8, 2021


Deadline to apply for OC Board of Ed vacancy pushed back to Dec. 17
The Orange County Board of Education has extended the deadline for candidates interested in filling the vacant Fourth District seat formerly held by Tim Shaw. Applicants now have until 12 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17 to submit their resumes and notices of intention. The board plans to provisionally appoint a new trustee on Dec. 21 to serve through June 2022. Following Shaw’s resignation on Nov. 1, board members initially announced a deadline of Nov. 30, with the intent of selecting a new member on Dec. 1. But the timeline was revised after no eligible applications were received.


Pandemic once closed schools; now it’s financing them
Christmas came early this year for Orange County’s school districts, in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars from state and federal COVID-19 relief funds. The money will buy things as diverse as new air filtration systems, computers, WiFi hot spots, classroom projectors and, of course, lots of face masks. It also will pay for people to help students: more teachers, counselors, aides, special education experts and campus nurses, with a special emphasis on addressing the mental health needs of students. Depending on the district, the money also will be used for improvements in gyms and other facilities.


34,000 L.A. Unified students have not complied with vaccine mandate; problems ahead
About 34,000 students have not yet complied with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the Los Angeles Unified School District — and there’s no longer enough time for students who have not gotten their first shot to be fully vaccinated by the Jan. 10 start of the second semester.


LAUSD school board fires hundreds of unvaccinated employees
Nearly 500 Los Angeles Unified school employees were fired Tuesday, Dec. 7, for refusing to comply with a district mandate that they get their COVID-19 vaccine shots.


‘Virtual opioid assembly’ for students scheduled as fentanyl deaths spike in San Diego County
Authorities will hold a “virtual assembly” next week for local middle and high school students to address the dangers of fentanyl following an uptick in fentanyl-related overdose deaths across San Diego County.


Clock ticking: S.F. school board still debating how to balance budget as deadline looms
With a week to go before a deadline to submit a balanced budget plan to the state, the San Francisco school board Tuesday was still debating how to deal with a $125 million shortfall.


Why child’s play is serious business in early education
When it comes to early childhood education, child’s play may well be serious business. Fun and games bring more than just joy. They may be the key to helping children thrive in tough times, experts say. Since young children don’t often have an opportunity to exercise choice and control, free play can be a liberating experience, nurturing independence and relieving stress. A growing body of research is making the case for play as a way to boost the well-being of young children as the pandemic drags on and concerns over learning loss and mental health issues escalate.

STEM professionals and professors slam California’s proposed math framework
In an open letter, 600 technology professionals and college math and science professors, many from California, warned that efforts to limit access to advanced math and promote “trendy but shallow courses over foundational skills” would cause lasting damage to STEM education. It would also “exacerbate inequality” by narrowing access to high-income professions, the authors said. The document, published Dec. 5, singled out proposed revisions to California’s K-12 math framework as embodying the problem.

U.S. surgeon general warns of youth mental health crisis
In a rare public advisory Tuesday, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy brought to light some of the mental health struggles youth are facing in growing numbers. The 53-page advisory highlights recent research showing that symptoms of depression and anxiety have doubled during the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles Times. It’s estimated that a quarter of America’s youth experience depression symptoms and 20% experience anxiety systems. Additionally, research shows increases in impulsivity, irritability and other negative emotions, as well as an increase in emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts.


San Diego Unified moves closer to naming a new superintendent
The San Diego Unified School District is closer to naming a new Superintendent. The district’s Search Advisory Committee prepared a final proposal for the Board of Education to review Tuesday evening. After eight months of reviewing candidates, the committee now has a list of 10 people the board should interview. Committee Chairman Christopher Rice-Wilson said all candidates were pressed on their plans for dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.


Former CUSD Superintendent Pens Autobiography
Joseph Farley, who served as superintendent for Capistrano Unified School District from 2010 to 2014, has disclosed he is gay in a new autobiography, The Last One Picked for the Team. Farley describes the book as documenting the efforts he and others took to defy stereotypes and achieve success while cultural changes occurred in America, according to a news release. Farley has more than 40 years of experience as a California educator, including in teaching.

Loophole allows school districts to shield what they pay teachers, administrators
Every year, the state controller publishes thousands of public employees’ salaries, from nearly every city, county and special district, on its transparency-focused “Government Compensation in California” website. Here’s what you won’t find: about two-thirds of the Golden State’s school systems. Unlike other public agencies in the state, California’s schools can choose whether to participate because of a loophole in state law. Most do not even reply to the controller’s requests.

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