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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Happy St Patrick's Day

As my family cooks corned beef & cabbage for St Patrick's Day today, I wish you all and your families much luck and good health.  

Here are two important items I wanted to be sure to share with you before I go offline:

  • Next steps for in-person student opportunities at MDUSD Schools
  • Board President Statement in Solidarity with Asian Americans

Next steps for In-Person Student Opportunities at MDUSD Schools

Last night we held a special board meeting about the ReOpening of Schools Timeline.
The majority of us chose to attend the meeting in person in the board room, which has been rearranged with COVID spacing and precautions.  The public for now needs to still access our meetings online, but eventually I'm hopeful that we'll end up with a combination of in-person and online access for all.   It was wonderful to be back in the board room again!
With fresh news of a tentative agreement between MDEA and MDUSD on a hybrid MOU that had been agreed upon at 5am Tuesday morning, our board unanimously voted in favor of the timeline as described in the MOU (pending approval):
  • Beginning March 25, preschool through 2nd grade and SDC classes will have an option to return to their school to attend In-person Learning Support sessions.
  • Beginning March 29, students in grades 3-12 will have an option to return to their school to attend In-person Learning Support sessions.
  • A 100% distance learning model will continue to be an option for all families.
MDEA members will vote this week on approval of the agreement, and we’ve set a special board meeting this Friday for the school board to then vote to ratify the agreement. (We will also ratify any agreements from other employee groups that are ready)

The agenda, with tentative agreements attached, will be posted at mdusd.org/boardmeetings at least 24 hours in advance of the special meeting.

I am so thankful to all who spent countless hours ensuring agreement on the safety and logistics of hybrid learning, and I look forward to seeing the smiling faces of students on our campuses very soon!

 

Board President Statement in Solidarity with Asian Americans

My heart goes out to our AAPI students, staff, administration and community in the midst of unconscionable hate and violence.  We posted this message today on the district website.

A special thank you to the over 70 caring MDUSD teachers, staff and community members who signed a letter to share this information and resources that are so important at this time.

Dear Mt. Diablo Unified School District Staff and Community,

     The dramatic increase in the violent and disturbing crimes and incidents toward the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities during this pandemic, and especially toward the elderly, is disheartening and deserves acknowledgement and denouncement. These events are antithetical to our organization’s beliefs and cultural aspirations, and they serve as a reminder that progress in these areas requires tremendous diligence, especially from educators, who bear a great responsibility to lift up our next generations ever higher. 

     Our MDUSD students and staff deserve to learn and work in a community and world that is free of racism, discrimination, and violence. Everybody deserves to feel safe in their neighborhoods and communities. 

     It is clear that the AAPI community has been experiencing discrimination and violence motivated by racism. The recent attacks on Vicha Ratanapakdee, Noel Quintana, Yik Oi Huang, Grandmother Duong from San Jose,  Mauricio Gesmundo, just to name a few, are both horrifying and sickening. The shootings in Atlanta just this morning, wherein six AAPIs were murdered, has stirred speculation about racist motivations. Truly, these events impact all of us in our communities, and we condemn all forms of racism and scapegoating of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Bay Area and beyond. 

     Education is inseparable from the ideals of justice, equity, and inclusion. We believe equity is a student, staff and community right, and every student is provided with what they individually require to learn and succeed to fulfill their academic and social education. We stand firm on ensuring equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist policies and practices. We are committed to holding each other responsible for respectful conduct and treatment of one another.

     We stand together with our AAPI students, staff, administration and community. We support restorative justice models that break the cycle of violence, Ethnic Studies to teach people about racial solidarity, community mediation efforts to not only hold people accountable, but to work together to resolve issues. 

     Here’s how you can help: 

  • Save the MDUSD Campus Safety Hotline contact: (925) 709-4847. This hotline is available for students and parents/guardians to leave a confidential, taped message about anything occurring at school that is causing students to feel unsafe—this includes virtual classroom environments.
  • For educators: visit this Learning for Justice response resource.
  • For families: Use this resource guide to help you discuss current events with your family. Here is another parent guide to help Prevent and also Respond to Prejudice.
  • Report incidents, read through reports, and news releases at stopaapihate.org  
  • Oakland Chinatown created this list of how to help support the AAPI communities, report hate crimes or get mental health or legal support.

     As MDUSD continues to do our part in diversity, equity and inclusion work as a community, we hold hope as people from different cultures and communities rise together to condemn hate. A community of belonging does not happen at the expense of the oppression of others. Let us continue to do this work together. 

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Special Board meeting March 16th

At last night's Mt. Diablo Unified School District board meeting, we voted to set the target date of March 22nd for PreK, K, 1, 2, SDC, Bridge students to return to campus.

Understanding that we need safety and logistics for this agreed upon with employees, negotiation dates were added for March 11,12,13,14,15 to complete the hybrid MOU.

I called for a special Board meeting for Tuesday March 16th, where we plan to approve the MOU or take any necessary steps to move forward to ensure our students begin to be allowed on campus for the in person relationship building that they have been asking for and desperately needing.

We have 13,000 students who requested in person hybrid this spring from throughout the district.

That is why we advocated so strongly for education staff to get priority vaccinations, and we must now follow through.

While I understand the call from some to delay any students entry to campus until all staff are fully vaccinated, I'm also aware of how fast vaccine efficacy grows. See this chart: 7 days after dose 1 you are 68.5% covered. 14 days after dose 1, that is 92.6%. Waiting til 2 more weeks after dose 2 only moves that from 92.6% to 94.8%.

Vaccines opened to education staff in our county on Feb 18th, then Dr Clark received and sent out individual priority codes to front line staff as they came in over the last few weeks, and Kaiser opened to education staff. Yesterday MDUSD held a J&J one shot vaccine clinic at Concord High with 350 doses, and only 300 people came (it was filled in by employees from PUSD since so many of our district staff already had their first shot).  If you find anyone in MDUSD who still need a vaccine, we have individual priority codes to give them - email [email protected] 

We are already successfully and safely providing in person testing and sports with safety protocols in place including masks, PPE, and spacing. (see photo of this week's ELPAC testing at Oak Grove Middle School)

Plus, let's all remember that our current plan to bring students onto campus is for only a few hours, and gradually starting with PreK-2. It is not a full hybrid, nor crowded hallways of kids passing from class to class.  Many principals, teachers and parents are creatively tapping into the free resources and ideas for learning outdoors at https://www.greenschoolyards.org/covid-learn-outside.

Let's be safe while also attending to the needs of our students, the biggest need of which right now is a chance for time off-screen with a real person who cares about them.

I truly believe we can and must, together & safely, take this gradual next step of providing a few hours a day for students in person as soon as possible.

#TogetherWeCan #MDUSDProud

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