Summer 2021 update

I hope you are enjoying your summer, getting away from screens out into nature, and creating memorable moments with family and friends.

District and school staff have been really busy getting schools ready to open!  I know there have been a lot of questions about what that will look like, and the state guidance just came out last week.

There’s also more information now being posted on MDUSD social media sites now that the Public Information Officer position has been filled, so I recommend following MDUSD on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram  (new profile), and LinkedIn.

Read Dr Clark’s Welcome Back message here, which includes that schools are opening full time in person without distancing restrictions, that masks are required indoors for everyone, and that masks are optional outdoors.  Stay tuned for more specific information from your school principals very soon.

In the meantime, if anyone in your family aged 12+ has not yet gotten vaccinated, now’s the time! We know the Delta variant is highly contagious, that the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people, and that the COVID vaccine could be made mandatory at some point.  Plus it’s easy and free to get!  I’ve listed 2 options for this weekend below, including free family passes to Oakland zoo.

Read on for:

  1. Information session July 26 re Virtual/Independent Study

  2. Get Vaccinated at the Oakland Zoo on July 24 - get a free family zoo pass!

  3. Free Vaccines at a local church on Sunday July 25

  4. Apply to work in MDUSD

  5. Early Bird Register by July 31 for Break a Sweat for Education

  6. Next School Board meeting August 11th

Information session July 26 re Virtual/Independent Study

To help families navigate the different independent study programs and to provide more details on the models to be provided by Mt. Diablo, please attend an Information Session on Monday, July 26, 2021 at 6:30 pm on Zoom at the following link:  HERE

Spanish translation will be available during the meeting. The meeting will be recorded and posted online for those who are unable to attend.

Get Vaccinated at the Oakland Zoo on July 24, 9am-2:30pm 

Receive a Free One-Day Family Pass

Receive your free COVID-19 vaccine at Oakland Zoo's pop-up clinic on July 24, and get a free Oakland Zoo Family Pass*, good for a one-day admission for 2 adults and 2 children, plus free parking for one vehicle (a $98 value). You may use your pass the day of your shot, or at a future date of your choice.

Drop-ins welcome, or pre-register for an appointment here** or call 650-623-5280. Insurance not required. Citizenship not required.

Second dose clinic will be scheduled for Saturday, August 14 at the same location you receive your first dose.

*Offer valid for one pass per family, to be received at the time first dose is administered. If you would like to use your family pass on the same day as your vaccination, please enter through the Lower Entrance. For a future visit, see offer code for online reservation at oaklandzoo.org.

**If you choose to pre-register, you must create a free Carbon Health Patient Account in order to schedule your appointment.

Clínica de vacunación emergente COVID-19

Presentado por la Agencia de Servicios de Atención Médica del Condado de Alameda, Carbon Health y Nate Miley

Auditorio Zimmer en el zoológico de Oakland

24 de julio de 2021

Adolescentes y adultos

9:00 am - 2:30 pm

Vacuna gratuita disponible para cualquier persona mayor de 12 años (para humanos, no para animales)

Reciba su vacuna COVID-19 gratis en la clínica emergente del zoológico de Oakland el 24 de julio y obtenga un pase familiar gratuito del zoológico de Oakland * , válido para una entrada de un día para 2 adultos y 2 niños, además de estacionamiento gratuito para un vehículo (un Valor de $ 98). Puede usar su pase el día de su inyección o en una fecha futura de su elección.

Las visitas sin cita previa son bienvenidas o preinscríbase para una cita aquí ** o llame al 650-623-5280. No se requiere seguro. No se requiere ciudadanía.

La clínica de la segunda dosis se programará para el sábado 14 de agosto en el mismo lugar donde recibe su primera dosis.

* Oferta válida para un pase por familia, que se recibirá al momento de administrar la primera dosis. Si desea utilizar su pase familiar el mismo día de su vacunación, ingrese por la entrada inferior. Para una visita futura, consulte el código de oferta para reserva en línea en oaklandzoo.org.

** Si opta por preinscribirse, debe crear una cuenta de paciente de Carbon Health gratuita para programar su cita.

¡Queremos agradecer a todos aquellos en nuestra comunidad que ya han sido vacunados! ¡Estamos agradecidos de que su elección de vacunar sea la razón por la que el zoológico de Oakland y tantos otros lugares y negocios pueden operar como lo hacemos hoy!

Free Vaccines at a local church on Sunday July 25

 

Apply to Work in MDUSD

Interested in a job in education? Mt. Diablo USD is hiring for both classified & certificated positions. We are offering a hiring bonus of $1,500 for all Paraprofessionals/Instructional Assistant positions. Click here to view the openings or visit bit.ly/TeamMDUSD 

Early Bird Register by July 31 for Break a Sweat for Education

Break a Sweat for Education® 5K Run & Walk and Kids Fun Run will take place on Saturday, October 2, at Heather Farm Park, Walnut Creek. Join our team and a percentage of funds will go to MDUSD Education Foundation!  Early bird discount if you register by July 31!

Click here and scroll down to View Teams and join ours (MDUSD Education Foundation). See you there to #BreakaSweatforEducation

School Board Meeting August 11th

Find the agenda and viewing/participation information here: https://mdusd.org/boardmeetings  

School starts August 12!

 

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End of School Year Wrap Up

I’m thrilled to announce that last night’s final school board meeting of the school year was extremely productive. It included an excellent superintendent evaluation, key appointments in preparation for school starting this fall, adoption of the LCAP and budget, and appointment of our next student trustee, as well as unanimously approved resolutions on “Excused Absences for Mental Health” and “Inclusive School Messaging, Names, and Imagery.”

Congratulations to Michelle Alas for completing her term as the 1st ever official student trustee on the Mt Diablo School Board! She laid a strong foundation for student leadership in our district, including last night’s approval of bylaws for a districtwide Student Advisory Committee. Student leadership is truly growing in our district and helping us to improve education for all.

Read on for:

  1. Student Trustee Appointment for 2021-22
  2. Superintendent Evaluation
  3. Resolution on Messaging, Names and Imagery
  4. Mt Diablo Peace & Justice Awards for Mt Diablo Students
  5. Next School Board meeting August 11th

Student Trustee Appointment for 2021-22

Welcome newly elected student trustee, Kaleena Fowler to the MDUSD School Board!  Trustee Fowler is an incoming senior at College Park High School and President of the Black Student Union.  She is passionate about the importance of student voice, student clubs, and improving communication between the student body and the school board.

Superintendent Evaluation

Congratulations to Dr Adam Clark on a successful first year as Superintendent of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District! Last night our school board unanimously decided on a Satisfactory evaluation (the choices being satisfactory or unsatisfactory), and added this public statement:

“We, the Mt Diablo School Board, voted unanimously to give Dr Clark a Satisfactory rating on his superintendent evaluation for the 2020-21 school year. Dr. Clark skillfully guided our district through the most difficult of times. He kept a laser focus on providing excellent education to all our students, and balanced many considerations, interests and partnerships in pursuit of that goal.  He consistently demonstrated grace under pressure, patience and persistence, and has begun to build a foundation to successfully create a more welcoming environment for all. We wholeheartedly support Dr Clark and look forward to our continued work together in the coming year.”

Resolution on Messaging, Names and Imagery

This resolution is grounded in research, state law and a Systemic Instructional Review and clearly states our board’s values and vision. It provides a framework not just for any one school decision, but for how every school site team can proactively create welcoming environments and together address any barriers to student learning. 

Here is an excerpt:

BE IT RESOLVED that the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board sees an urgent need to establish a welcoming and safe environment for all students in our schools and community; and if necessary, schools shall choose a non-human mascot/name replacement within 1 year, and the district budget shall bear the costs of the transition rather than the school site budget.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board encourages all schools to utilize proven, high quality tools to create welcoming environments such as: 

  1. registering as an Anti-Defamation League No Place for Hate School
  2. teaching the four domains of Social Justice Standards to all students (identity, diversity, justice and action), 
  3. teaching lessons from the approved California Ethnic studies model curriculum;

Many thanks to the students, teachers, and community members at multiple school sites who have worked to educate their colleagues, community, and this school board on these issues. It is your persistence, research, and workshops that led to this unanimously supported resolution. 

Mt Diablo Peace & Justice Awards for Mt Diablo Students

The Mt Diablo Peace & Justice Center is recognizing some Mt Diablo student leaders this Saturday!  The event is June 26th at 10AM, in-person and outdoors at the Peace Center, located at 1035 Carol Lane, Lafayette. Click here to register.

They will be presenting awards at both the High School and Middle School level, in areas of visual art, creative writing, and essay. Plus they also selected two activist award winners: 

  1. an 11th grader from Ygnacio Valley High School - Alex Hagerstrand - who led brave work at their school around LGBTQ issues - through raising awareness, organizing actions, and facilitating teach-ins for the community. 
  2. the Ygnacio Valley Racist Mascot Removal Committee - a group of six Mt Diablo students who campaigned throughout the year to educate around the harmful stereotypes and indigenous imagery used by their school. They organized a number of educational workshops and connected with local indigenous groups to educate the community on why this imagery is harmful. 

School Board Meeting August 11th

Our board takes off the month of July for a much needed break!  See you all in August. Find the agenda and viewing/participation information here: https://mdusd.org/boardmeetings  

Thank you to my colleagues on the School Board for your hard work and constant study, and for always bravely sharing your perspective. Now let’s all get offline as much as possible to rejuvenate this July and be ready to get back to work in August!

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Happy Summer 2021

I hope you are all enjoying your summer, whether it includes summer school activities, work or travel!  Our final school board meeting of the school year is next Wednesday, and then we will take a break for the month of July.

I want to share 2 things to do today:

  1. If you or anyone you know has still not gotten vaccinated, today is the last day at Ygnacio Valley High, 8am-3pm. With your shot you'll receive a $50 gift card and a chance to win big prizes, as well as the peace of mind that you are helping protect your whole community and school from COVID.  
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  2. Today is Juneteenth, a day that is now recognized nationally as the day enslaved Black people in Texas learned they were free - more than two years AFTER it was officially so.  This is a part of our history that I did not learn in school, and many of you may not have either. (the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect Jan 1, 1863 and yet it was on June 19, 1865 that union troops rode into Texas and announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree.)
    • Here are two local Juneteenth events that you are invited to attend.
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School Board Meeting June 23rd

Next week’s board meeting is a full one, including personnel appointments, approval of LCAP and budget, mental health days for students, and the appointment of our student school board member for 2021-22.

Find the agenda and viewing/participation information herehttps://mdusd.org/boardmeetings  The public may attend in person or view the livestream video.  Submit a public comment in person or send via email to [email protected] . 

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Happy Graduation 2021

Happy Graduation 2021!  We are so very proud of every single graduate who persisted through the pandemic to complete all requirements, and we know you will go forward in your careers with competence and compassion. Thanks to City of Concord for broadcasting MDUSD graduations live on TV. Videos of the ceremonies are posted on the city YouTube channel here.

  

Great news! At our last school board meeting every action item passed with flying colors, from our resolutions about Jewish Heritage month and PRIDE month, to a $1500 stipend for staff in recognition of their hard work through a pandemic, to a $19 million grant submission for Extended Learning opportunities.  I am so full of hope about the coming year, and of gratitude to all who work so hard to make all of this possible.

The PRIDE flag now flies at district headquarters and at many of our schools to show students, employees and community that we welcome everyone. The PRIDE resolution goes beyond words to highlight actual board policies that govern transgender rights, proper use of pronouns, and staff training on these topics. Thank you to Claycord PFLAG and Rainbow Community Center for partnering with MDUSD to provide support and training to students and staff.  Going forward we hope to acquire a "progress" PRIDE flag for the district, and to ensure every school has a PRIDE flag to fly by next June.

Though the school year has ended, our board’s work continues this month with detailed fiscal, educational and technology plans.  See the June 9th meeting agenda for draft plans that have incorporated your input, as well as public hearings where you can still comment before the final approvals June 23rd.

Read on for:

  1. School Board meeting June 9th

  2. What is LCAP?

  3. COVID vaccines at MDUSD schools for everyone 12+

  4. Superintendent’s Friday letters

School Board Meeting June 9th

This week’s board meeting includes two key opportunities for your comments:

The final versions of these will be voted on by the board at our June 23rd meeting.

Other key items on the agenda include:

Find the agenda and viewing/participation information here: https://mdusd.org/boardmeetings  The public may attend in person or view the livestream video.  Submit a public comment in person or via email to [email protected]

What is LCAP?

LCAP stands for Local Control Accountability Plan, and is required by the State of California. See MDUSD’s current draft and prior plans in English & Spanish at https://www.mdusd.org/lcap/lcapnews.

This year staff carefully incorporated recommendations from our recent CCEE Systemic Instructional Review. Community input for this plan was gathered in a variety of ways (see page 7-9 here). One goal I’ve had since before joining the school board is to more clearly involve a diverse range of parents, students, staff and community in key school & district decisions. While we have made significant improvements these last few years (e.g. translation, Friday letter, weekly Operational Report, ParentSquare, student board member, student advisory committee), there is much more to do.  See details on pages 35-40 of “Goal 3: Parents, family and community members will be informed, engaged and empowered as partners with Mt. Diablo Unified to support student learning and improve student outcomes.” This includes specifics such as “Actively recruit parents/ guardians of underserved student groups to be represented at all advisory meetings.”

Useful LCAP resources for you:

  • California Department of Education website "Frequently Asked Questions" https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/lc/lcffaq.asp 

  • ED100's "What is the LCAP?" https://ed100.org/blog/lcap-hub.  This explains the 8 priority areas that all LCAP plans must cover and much more about how this plan intersects with school site plans and the complexities of state funding. It includes a PTA created checklist that can be used at the school site or district level.

COVID Vaccines at MDUSD schools

COVID-19 vaccine continues to be available on our school sites for anyone who is 12 or older. Concord High School, Ygnacio Valley High School and Mt. Diablo High School are hosting a no-cost clinic.  See the dates and times below.

Everyone is welcome, including students who are 12 or older, family members and members of the community.

La vacuna contra el COVID-19 está disponible para cualquier persona de 12 años de edad o mayor. Para ofrecer a nuestras familias la oportunidad de vacunarse, Concord High School, Ygnacio Valley High School y Mt. Diablo High School estará realizando una clínica de vacunación sin costo.  Vea las fechas y horas a continuación.

Todos son bienvenidos, incluyendo a los estudiantes de 12 años de edad o mayores, los miembros de sus familias y los integrantes de la comunidad. 

Find school flyers, forms and more in Dr Clark’s May 14th Friday letter here.

Superintendent's Friday letter

Click to read Dr Clark’s May 28th letter, and June 4th letter.  These letters and the Organizational updates within them contain details from all departments. Here are a few highlights:

Congratulations to all graduates, including the 291 Seniors who earned the California Seal of Biliteracy! The Seal is given to students who have demonstrated to be proficient in two or more languages. The requirements are rigorous and students need to demonstrate oral fluency proficiency as well as proficiency  in reading and writing in both languages.

Highlights from Adult Education include: In our Certified Nursing Assistant Program, we started with 15 students and anticipate we will have all 15 students graduate Friday, June 4th at 10:00 at the Loma Vista Adult Center.  The program was chosen as the model for the state in the Master Plan for Aging. We are currently part of the team through our Healthcare Career Pathway (HCP) model partnership presenting to Legislators a $5 million budget proposal to expand the HCP model to 6 counties in California.  Also as part of HCP we have food supports for our students.  Through our partnership with Loaves and Fishes we served over 300 meals to students and through the Contra Costa Food Bank we handed out over 3500 pounds of food, which included dry goods, fresh vegetables & fruit, dairy products, and frozen foods!  For the 2019-2021 Surgical Technologist Program (extended due to COVID): 12 of 13 finished the program and all 12 passed their National certification exam. We just finished an EMT cohort.  All students passed their final skills tests, are finishing their ride along requirements and then headed out to start their careers as first responders.  Despite the pandemic, our adult high school students, many of whom are parents, are finishing up their last high school equivalency tests and their last credits to be 2021 graduates.  

And congratulations to the MDUSD Food & Nutrition Services Department, which has been recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in their newly published Brief, "Healthy Eating Research''. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked for the last 45 years to improve the health and well-being of all Americans in the United States. The " Healthy Eating Research" Brief, evaluated and analyzed the benefits school districts performed around the country serving children and their families during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Mt. Diablo Unified School District Food & Nutrition Services Department, is one of three school districts from California highlighted in the Brief and analyzed the district's food service program for "Serving Multiple Meals at Once" and the high volume preparation of scratch-made meals served in multiple days to address Food Insecurity in the district's multiple communities.  Congratulations Food Services!

I hope you all are enjoying the start of summer break safely with family and friends!

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COVID Vaccines at MDUSD Schools

I was excited to get my kids both vaccinated last week when it opened to ages 12+. Did you know we’re offering the vaccine now at school sites? This week Tuesday-Saturday, 8am-3pm it is at Ygnacio Valley High, free and open to anyone 12+ with no appointment needed. Details and flyers linked below.

Last week I also had the pleasure of visiting Horizons and Prospect High school to congratulate Teacher of the Year Libby McDonough. Principal Brennan showed me around, explaining the nuances between the various alternative education offerings. These are crucial for MDUSD parents and students to know about when they are seeking flexible, personalized learning options.  I’ve summarized some of them below.


Read on for:

  1. School Board meeting May 26th - in person
  2. COVID vaccines at MDUSD schools for everyone 12+
  3. Superintendent’s Friday letter 
    • Student School Board member applications
    • New summer meals schedule & flyers
  4. Alternative Education options

School Board Meeting May 26th - in person

This week’s board meeting will again be fully in person, and held next door to district headquarters at Monte Gardens Elementary school (3841 Larkspur Dr, Concord, CA 94519). The public is welcome, following all COVID safety protocols including distancing and required masks.  The open meeting will begin at 6pm.  Members of the public may submit a card to comment.

Alternatively, there are still distanced options: the public may view the livestream video and/or may submit a public comment via email to [email protected]

Find the agenda and viewing/participation information here: https://mdusd.org/boardmeetings

Recognitions/resolutions on the agenda include:

Key business items on this agenda include:

COVID Vaccines at MDUSD schools

COVID-19 vaccine is now available for anyone who is 12 or older, and to help our families find a convenient vaccination opportunity, Concord High School, Ygnacio Valley High School and Mt. Diablo High School are hosting a no-cost clinic.  See the dates and times below.

Everyone is welcome, including students who are 12 or older, family members and members of the community.

La vacuna contra el COVID-19 está disponible para cualquier persona de 12 años de edad o mayor. Para ofrecer a nuestras familias la oportunidad de vacunarse, Concord High School, Ygnacio Valley High School y Mt. Diablo High School estará realizando una clínica de vacunación sin costo.  Vea las fechas y horas a continuación.

Todos son bienvenidos, incluyendo a los estudiantes de 12 años de edad o mayores, los miembros de sus familias y los integrantes de la comunidad. 

   

Find more school flyers, forms and more in Dr Clark’s May 14th Friday letter here.

 

Superintendent's Friday letter

Click here to read Dr Clark’s May 21st letter, full of information including: 

  • Garden plant giveaway success
  • Foothill Middle School recognized as CA Distinguished School
  • Student School Board member applications
    • 10th or 11th grade students in MDUSD - check with your school for the application form and email our current student board member, Michelle Alas, with any questions at [email protected]
  • New meal distribution schedule
    • FOOD & NUTRITION SERVICES - Curbside Meal Distribution and Bus Meal Distribution will end on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 except for Foothill Middle School and Valley View Middle School which will end on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. All Curbside Meal Distribution Centers will be closed on Friday, June 4, 2021. The following Curbside Meal Distribution Centers will reopen on Monday, June 7, 2021. Here are the flyers in Spanish and English

Alternative Education Options

Are you considering Independent Study or an alternative education option?  

Here are some key schools/programs that might interest you. These are all well established programs in Mt Diablo Unified School district that continue to be available for the coming school year.

  1. Independent Study at Horizons - This is an option for grades 9-12. Here is an Independent Study FAQ from Horizons that answers a lot of questions I’ve heard lately, and feel free to call the school office to discuss further. 
  2. Horizons Home study is a program within our district for grades TK-8 as well. They provide an entire library chock full of curricula and hands-on experiences, as well as a supportive network of other Home Study families to connect with.
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  3. Prospect High School, located in Pleasant Hill, is “an alternative high school focused on small class sizes, close interaction with teachers and staff, and credit recovery. We welcome all students who may perform well in a smaller high school environment or need to make up credits in order to graduate.”
  4. Gateway High School is the Bay Point campus of Horizons, providing alternative options for students in that community.
  5. Olympic High School is located in Concord. Their purpose is “to meet the needs of students who, for a variety of reasons, are not on track to graduate from high school. Teachers and staff use standards-based instruction, best practices, and data informed decision making to help each student get on track toward graduating from Olympic High School, graduating from her/his comprehensive high school, or passing the GED.”  
  6. Crossroads High School is located in Concord, and is a necessary small high school that serves pregnant and parenting teens and their children. They provide an alternative academic program aimed at high school graduation and beyond. 
  7. College Now, housed at Diablo Valley College, is a two year program for 11th & 12th grade students. (Tenth graders normally apply by February, so this is something to plan ahead for and discuss with your counselor.) College Now students take a block of three high school courses taught by MDUSD teachers, and they take the rest of their courses at DVC with other community college students.  They earn both high school and college credit for those DVC classes.

I look forward to seeing many of you at various MDUSD graduation ceremonies in the coming week!

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May 2021

May is the time to thank and recognize all our MDUSD teachers and staff for their hard work.  A special congratulations to all the nominees and winners of the MDEA Academy Awards on May 6th! The evening included a touching recognition of the Lifetime Achievement of Jesse Forsland from Olympic High, and recognized excellent talent from Classified Employee Connie Krawesky at Ayers Elementary, to student Seena Fahardi’s startup volunteer organization LEAP MDUSD that matched students tutors with homeless & foster youth who needed extra academic help.  Plus they gave the first ever Social Justice Award to Patricia Hamachi at ShoreAcres Elementary. See all nominees & winners below.

Don’t forget Classified Employees Week is just around the corner on May 16th-22nd!

Read on for:

  1. School Board meeting May 12th - in person
  2. Superintendent’s Friday letter 
    • Ask the CBO - call to action
  3. Nominate a student leader
  4. Congratulations MDEA Academy Awards Winners

School Board Meeting May 12th - in person

This week’s board meeting will be fully in person, and held next door to district headquarters at Monte Gardens Elementary school to provide plenty of space (3841 Larkspur Dr, Concord, CA 94519). The public may participate in person, following all COVID safety protocols including distancing and required masks.  The open meeting will begin at 6pm.  Members of the public may submit a card to comment, as has always been the case at our in-person board meetings. 

Alternatively, there are still distanced options: the public may view the livestream video and/or may submit a public comment via email to [email protected] . Staff is also working to add in a phone-in option for public comment as well.

Find the agenda and viewing/participation information here: https://mdusd.org/boardmeetings

Key items on this agenda include:

Superintendent's Friday letter

Click here to read Dr Clark’s May 7th letter, full of information including: 

Nominate a Student Leader

Ed100 is hosting a summer Academy for Student Leaders - and it’s free!  

Can you share this out to and/or nominate students from Mt Diablo High, Ygnacio Valley High, Olympic and Horizons? Their chart shows that there are students registered so far from College Park, Northgate, and Concord High. Let’s get reps from every school!

https://ed100.org/blog/student-leader-academy

Congratulations to MDEA Academy Award Winners

This celebration was a showcase of all of the fabulous work that dedicated community members are doing all over our district. Congratulations to all!  Please see the list of nominees and finalists:  2021 MDEA Academy Award Nominees

And the winners are…

  • Lifetime Achievement - Jesse Forsland
  • Community Involvement - Angela Bever
  • Creative Curriculum - Al Douex
  • Leadership & Courage - Hilary Garcia
  • Most Inspirational - Alexandra Kirberg
  • Outstanding Administrator - Marga Marshall
  • Outstanding Classified Employee - Connie Krawesky
  • Outstanding Parent Volunteer - Kathryn Durham-Hammer
  • Outstanding Volunteer Organization - Learning Enrichment and Assistance Program (LEAP MDUSD, founded by student Seena Farhadi) - https://leapmdusd.org/
  • Outstanding Collaborating Team - Mt. Diablo High School Counseling Department
  • Outstanding Collaborating Team - Mt. Diablo High School Math Department
  • Social Justice - Patricia Hamachi

They also recognized this year's MDUSD Teachers of the Year: Libby McDonagh and Chelsea Ridenour.

You can view a recording of the event here. 

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Celebrating our Teachers and Staff

It's time to celebrate! The Mt. Diablo Teacher of the Year sought nominations of outstanding educators from transitional kindergarten through grade 12 and adult education to be represented as the MDUSD Teacher of the Year.  Over 60 teachers were nominated, and the five finalists were: 

  • David Hunter from Bridge, 
  • Jim Keck from College Park, 
  • Chelsea Ridenour from Diablo View, 
  • Elizabeth McDonagh from Prospect High, and 
  • Elisa Mendoza from Sequoia Middle.  

The two teachers selected to represent Mt. Diablo in the County Teacher of the Year competition are Chelsea Ridenour and Elisa McDonagh.

I had the pleasure of visiting Diablo View Middle School yesterday to present Ms Ridenour her certificate in person!  It was a beautiful day to see students engaged in hands-on learning all over campus, indoors and out, amidst the beats and improvisations of band practice tunes.

Don’t miss the MDEA Academy Awards zoom event May 6th, to celebrate excellent teachers, staff, parents and administrators throughout our district! Details below.

Read on for:

  1. School Board meeting tonight April 28th
  2. Superintendent’s Friday letter 
  3. MDEA Academy Awards May 6th
  4. Vaccination Walk In Clinics
  5. Free Summer Education Academy for Student Leaders
  6. Accelerating Learning as we Build Back Better

School Board Meeting Tonight April 28th

Find the agenda here, along with information about how to watch the live broadcast as well as how to submit public comments.  Key items on the agenda include:

Superintendent's Friday letter

Click here to read Dr Clark’s April 23rd letter, full of information including: 

MDEA Academy Awards May 6th

You’re invited to this event on Thursday, May 6, 2021, from 6-8pm!

   Click here to watch the awards ceremony

         Meeting number: 145 364 5434

         Password: MDEA20210506

This celebration will be a showcase of all of the fabulous work that dedicated community members are doing all over our district. It will be an engaging opportunity for each of us to look up for a moment from the tasks we focus on each day and see the broader scope and bigger picture of successes across the entire district.  Congratulations to all!  Please see the list of nominees and finalists:  2021 MDEA Academy Award Nominees

Vaccination Walk In Clinics

Our school district has been coordinating with county health to ensure vaccines reach all families.  Here’s exciting news about more accessible vaccines here in Concord and Pittsburg:

  1. There’s a new COVID-19 vaccine clinic opening tomorrow at 1034 Oak Grove Road in Concord

    

 

  • Plus these new walk-in mobile clinics (open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.):

    • April 26 – May 2: Albert D. Seeno Jr. Pittsburg Youth Development Center: 1001 Stoneman Ave., Pittsburg

    • May 3-6: Meadow Homes Elementary School: 1371 Detroit Ave., Concord 

Free Summer Education Academy for Student Leaders

Ed100 is hosting a summer Academy for Student Leaders - and it’s free!  Please share out and nominate students to attend.

Their chart shows that there are students from Mt. Diablo Unified School District registered so far from College Park, Northgate, and Concord High. Can you share this out to and/or nominate students from Mt Diablo High, Ygnacio Valley High, Olympic and Horizons?

https://ed100.org/blog/student-leader-academy

Accelerating Learning As We Build Back Better 

This article by Linda Darling Hammond is a must read for us all. She says, “If we focus on remediation for “learning loss” we'll go back to the unequal and inadequate pre-COVID education system. Instead, we need to set the norm for a new age that builds on how children really learn, rather than working against it...

It is critically important that we address these concerns based not on outdated notions about remediation, but on what we now know about how people learn effectively.”

Here a key excerpt, and I do recommend reading the entire article for more detail and models of best practices.

“If we really want to support learning, the return to school should not include these staple features of an outdated approach to learning that research has found actually undermine achievement:

  • Testing students to label and track them into “high,” “average,” and “low” groups that are segregated by perceived ability — and often by race, class, and language background as well;
  • Offering regimented drill and kill remedial instruction in these segregated groups, focused on filling gaps in basic skills in the artificial ways they are assessed on multiple choice tests, which then often causes them to be taught in equally artificial ways;
  • “Personalizing” learning by putting students in front of programmed computers for machine-based instruction for long hours at a time — or piles of worksheets that offer the same decontextualized approach to learning;
  • Punishing students who disengage or express frustration and despair by excluding them from the classroom or removing “privileges” like recess and library time;
  • Placing the neediest students in remedial classes with the least trained and experienced teachers who are least likely to know how to create productive learning environments.

Instead, a supportive school return — both this summer and next fall — will seek to ensure that students:

  • Experience warm relationships and social-emotional supports achieved by redesigning schools so that they are relationship-centered, with built-in time for creating community, trust, and belonging among students and with families;
  • Engage in outdoor play and exercise, expressive arts, and collaborative activities that support brain development and learning;
  • Encounter authentic, culturally responsive learning tasks and inquiry projects connected to their experiences that allow them to understand and positively impact their environment;
  • Assess what students need both socially and emotionally as well as academically, address trauma with healing and support, and identify the next steps they are ready to take in their learning rather than labelling them;
  • Accelerate learning through additional time and high-quality tutoring rather than tracking. Intensive tutoring, found to be highly effective, both establishes strong relationships and customizes teaching directly to student readiness and needs.”
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LCAP community input

Please join us for the LCAP Input Meeting tomorrow night!

         On Wednesday, April 21st at 5pm, Mt. Diablo Unified will be hosting a virtual LCAP Input Meeting. 

The Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) must be updated annually, be aligned to eight areas identified as state priorities, and describe the school district's overall vision for students, annual goals and specific actions the district will take to achieve the vision and achievement targets.  This year, in addition to the LCAP, the state is requiring that districts complete several other documents describing how Mt. Diablo Unified will target support for African American students, English learners, foster youth, students experiencing homelessness, students with unique needs, and how we plan on coordinating academic and social emotional support to increase student achievement and success.

         Below is the link to the meeting and Spanish translation will be provided.

         Join Zoom Meeting  

        Meeting ID: 857 0573 9817

        Passcode: 684843

Find MDUSD prior LCAP plans and news at https://www.mdusd.org/lcap/lcapnews

  • For parents: here is a handy "what is LCAP" from Ed100: https://ed100.org/blog/lcap-hub . This explains the 8 priority areas that all LCAP plans must cover and much more about how this plan intersects with school site plans and the complexities of state funding.

 

And if you missed last week's school board meeting, here are the actions we took:

Actions Taken at Last Week's Board Meeting: Fall ReOpening, Intercultural Education, Outdoor Classrooms

I'm proud to share that last week our Mt. Diablo Unified School District school board unanimously approved my Motion for Fall 2021 to include choices for students of:
  1. full time 5 days a week in person school
  2. Independent study
  3. new Virtual Academy
    • (this is for students to receive 100% online instruction from MDUSD teachers)
(a non-binding parent survey will be sent out to gauge estimated enrollment in each of the 3 options, in order to plan for adequate staffing)
We also unanimously passed our first ever Resolution to recognize Arab American Heritage month, and heard from the founder of ing.org about all the free curriculum and speakers they provide to educators on intercultural understanding.
We unanimously passed an updated Climate Change resolution and heard about current efforts and success in creating outdoor classrooms throughout the district, with help from greenschoolyards.org
And we heard an excellent report from our CARES afterschool program that operates at 17 school sites to provide care both in person and online for our lowest income students.
Thank you, everyone in MDUSD for making this all possible! You are showing that even through challenging times, #TogetherWeCan provide excellent education to all students.
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Welcome back from spring break

I hope you all had plenty of time out in nature and off screens, to rest and revive. Ramadan Mubarak to those who celebrate!  I was amazed to learn that today is also Vaisakhi, Navratra, Ugadi, Khalsa Sirjana Divas and Hindu New Year. Understanding each other's traditions and values is so important to building inclusive communities. 

I invited Maha Elgenaidi, founder of Ing.org, to speak at tomorrow’s school board meeting during item 9.3 Resolution in Recognition of Arab American Heritage Month. Ing’s mission is educating for cultural literacy and mutual respect.

Here is a useful brief guide for educators about Ramadan:

Read on for:

  1. School Board meeting Wednesday April 14th
  2. Superintendent’s Friday letter 
  3. Mental Health Webinars
  4. Common Cents 
  5. Drawing on Earth’s Global Challenge

Next School Board Meeting Wednesday April 14th

Find the agenda here, along with information about how to watch the live broadcast as well as how to submit public comments.  Key items on the agenda include:

Superintendent's Friday letter

Click here to read Dr Clark’s March 19th letter, full of information including: 

  • Congratulations MDUSD student winners of Contra Costa County Science and Engineering Fair: Angello Ledesma, Elyse Contreras, Andrea Rosmarin, Jonathan Yu, John Lins, and Erin Weber!
  • Organizational Update including kindergarten registration for fall at mdusd.org/enrollnow and the opportunity to apply for the new  YVHS CCAP STEM program 

Mental Health Webinars

Don’t miss these important Mental Health webinars created by MDUSD Counselors in English or Spanish. Coming up Tuesday April 20 at 5pm is “Anxiety and Depression” - Register here.  You can also watch all past webinars such as “Recognizing When To Get Help Beyond The Homeor register for future topics at https://mdusd.org/mental-health

Common Cents

Did you know that MDUSD has a new column with answers to frequently asked questions? It is about sharing the accurate data associated with all things fiscal, budgets, data, and more!  Visit https://mdusd.org/bscc 

The March 31st post included:

  • What is the cost of a special election for a recall?
  • Why is there a deficit? 
  • Where do the funds come from for our district? 
  • Does district staff engage with legislators to try to get more funding? 

Drawing on Earth’s Global Creative Challenge

Join Mark Wagner this Earth Day in his Global Creative Challenge.  Mark is the amazing artist who led The Largest Illustrated Story chalk drawing project for Mt. Diablo Unified School District at nearly all of our elementary school sites!  

(This flyer features the Wren Avenue Elementary School of the Arts chalk project)

Join him online or in person for his next Guinness World Record attempt! #STEAMforStudents

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MDUSD is Back

What a beautiful day to welcome students to our Mt. Diablo Unified School District campuses. 

I enjoyed this morning as a volunteer with Ygnacio Valley High School PTSA, handing out treats to staff and posting welcome back signs for students.  Thank you to all our Mt. Diablo Unified School District teachers and staff for your hard work to make this all possible! #MDUSDisBack

  

Read on for:

  • COVID vaccine appointments

  • MDUSDisBack photos

  • Cesar Chavez & Dolores Huerta Days, Larry Itliong

Our school principals are working closely with the health dept to expand vaccine outreach in Bay Point and Monument with Spanish speaking ambassadors.  Plus, great news on vaccines...

Contra Costa Residents 50+ Encouraged to Request Vaccine Appointment Now - Thousands of Appointment Slots Available

People who are currently eligible are strongly encouraged to beat the rush by requesting appointments as soon as possible, using the online request form at cchealth.org/coronavirus or calling 1-833-VAX-COCO (1-833-829-2626). People currently eligible for appointments in Contra Costa include: 

  • Anyone who is 50 or older and lives or works in the county

  • Anyone who is 16 or older and has a high-risk health condition, disability or illness and lives or works in the county 

  • Essential workers who live or work in Contra Costa, including healthcare personnel, emergency services workers, education and childcare workers, agriculture and food workers, transportation and logistics workers, and anyone who lives or works in a congregate living space in the county

CCHS expects this week to expand eligibility to:

  • Anyone who lives or works in the county and is 16 or older

Invitamos a los Residentes de Contra Costa de 50 Años de Edad y Mayores a que Soliciten la Vacuna Hoy Mismo - Miles de espacios para citas disponibles

De ser posible, pedimos que las personas programen sus citas utilizando el formulario de solicitud en línea en vez de llamar por teléfono, ya que esto les ahorrará tiempo. La página de Ayude a su Vecino incluye consejos que le servirán para ayudar a un amigo o un ser querido a programar una cita en caso de que se le dificulte utilizar el Internet o un teléfono inteligente.

Las personas actualmente elegibles para programar una cita de vacunación en Contra Costa incluyen:

  • Cualquier persona de 50 años de edad o mayor que viva o trabaje en el condado

  • Cualquier persona de 16 años de edad o mayor que tenga una condición de salud, discapacidad o enfermedad de alto riesgo y que viva o trabaje en el condado

  • Los trabajadores esenciales que vivan o trabajen en Contra Costa, incluyendo al personal de salud, los trabajadores de los servicios de emergencia, los trabajadores de la educación y del cuidado infantil, los trabajadores del sector agrícola y de alimentos, los trabajadores de transporte y logística y cualquier persona que viva o trabaje en una instalación de vivienda congregada del condado

MDUSD is Back

It was a joy for me to see smiling faces last week at our elementary schools, including Ygnacio Valley Elementary, Meadow Homes, and Walnut Acres! 

    

Cesar Chavez & Dolores Huerta Days, Larry Itliong

Don't forget that our school district has this Friday April 2nd off in honor of Cesar Chavez Day. Here is a Learning for Justice resource on Cesar Chavez for educators and families.  

California also has designated April 10th as Dolores Huerta Day. Chavez and Huerta together launched the National Farm Workers Association, though some history recognizes primarily Chavez. Both have compelling stories as effective community organizers, and Dolores Huerta is still alive and organizing today. Here is the Dolores Huerta curriculum toolkit all about civic engagement and her signature rallying cry "Si Se Puede".  You can learn about this curriculum on April 1st, 6:30pm with "Teaching the Life of Activist Dolores Huerta." Register at: http://bit.ly/TeachingDoloresHuerta

Organizing is always most effective in coalition, even though our American stories often feature one person instead. In fact, Larry Itliong was the person who started the Delano Grape Strike with more than 2,000 Filipino farmworkers, that Huerta and Chavez later joined.  Their organizations later merged to become what we now know as United Farm Workers (UFW).  Be sure to read his story here to learn the full, true history of their journey together for justice. 

I hope you all enjoy a safe and relaxing spring break April 5-9th!

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