Happy New Year - school board mtg Jan 13th

Happy New Year everyone!  

I hope you had some time off for rest & rejuvenation over the break, and are staying healthy.  I know that I appreciated unplugging completely for a bit, spending time with my family on puzzles, hikes and cooking projects.  This has been such a stressful year of what feels like a never-ending global pandemic, but I am back online now and ready to serve, hopeful for the year ahead.

First of all, at our December school board meeting I was honored to be nominated and voted in by my colleagues to be the next President of the Mt Diablo School Board.  Trustee Debra Mason was elected as Vice President, and new trustees Keisha Nzewi and Erin McFerrin were sworn in as the newest members of our board.  Trustee Linda Mayo and student Trustee Michelle Alas will continue to serve as board members as well. I know that this group will work collaboratively together in the best interest of Mt Diablo students, and I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's different perspectives that will help guide our decisions.

At the December meeting we voted to postpone the planned January reopening of schools due to the alarming rise in COVID cases, and so the topic of reopening will be covered this week at Wednesday night's board meeting during Superintendent's report.  Things are very much in flux right now as high rates continue, the Governor's budget came out on Friday, and vaccination timelines are still being developed.  We continue to watch and study how to safely provide education to students while supporting struggling families during this tragic global pandemic.

Read on for:

  1. School Board meeting Wednesday January 13th
  2. Superintendent’s Friday letter
  3. Sign up this week for County Science Fair, 7th-12th grade
  4. Education to End Hate Virtual Classroom Series
  5. Articles/resources on budget, vaccinations, "how to talk to children"

Next School Board Meeting Wednesday January 13th

Find the agenda here, along with information about how to watch the live broadcast as well as how to submit public comments.  Click here to see summaries of board action from prior meetings.

Please note: this year our board meetings have been moved to Wednesdays instead of Mondays.

Two resolutions will be presented:

There are two key business action items:

  • School plans for student achievement Find your school site plan here.
  • Resolution Authorizing and Approving Temporary Transfer Agreement for Fiscal Year 2020-21 from the Contra Costa County Treasury to Address Anticipated Deferred State Funding
    • this is necessary to explore due to state cash deferrals of funding to schools

Superintendent's Friday letter

Click here to read Dr Clark’s Dec 4th letter including: 

Sign up for County Science Fair - 7th-12th grade

Did you see this message today from MDUSD via ParentSquare?

MDUSD Students/Families, A chance to explore and develop your STEM passion is here! The Contra Costa County Science Fair (CCCSEF) (March 11, 12, & 13, 2021) is for students grades 7-12 who are interested in science, technology, or mathematics, and presents an opportunity to engage in independent research. Taking part in the CCCSEF is fun, educational, and rewarding—moreover, you won’t be taking this project alone. Mentors and teachers will help you create the best project possible.

Students can choose from six broad categories, including behavioral, biological, physical, environmental, engineering, math and computer sciences, where they can explore their passions and apply classroom knowledge to tangible experiments. If successful, Contra Costa Science Fair students are able to compete regionally and access the following larger competitions:
  • California Science & Engineering Fair (Virtual): April 12-13, 2021
  • Broadcom MASTERS Middle School National Science Fair (Virtual): October, 2021
  • Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (Virtual): May 16-21, 2021
If you are interested, please fill out this Science Fair Interest Form by Friday, January 15. You will be sent a confirmation regarding the next steps for participation, including dates for important informational sessions.

Thank you,
The Office of the Superintendent, MDUSD
on behalf of Bay Area LEEDS

Education to End Hate Virtual Classroom Series

The CA Dept of Education this year has created a series of three virtual classroom sessions as part of the Education to End Hate Initiative.

Watch the third topic, Understanding and Countering Islamophobia, live on facebook this Tuesday January 12, at 4pm. 

Videos of the first two topics are also available to watch - Understanding Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Pedagogical Approaches to Teaching about Native Americans.

Articles/Resources on Budget, Vaccines, "How to talk to children"

  • Governor's proposed budget
    • Superintendents letter in response from 7 largest school districts in CA
    • CA School Board Association blog re Governor's budget - this is a good summary of what's in the budget for schools, and the next steps with the legislature
  • Today's article about the rollout of vaccines
  • "How to Talk to Children about the Capitol Insurrection" - Rise Up Against Racism, a local volunteer nonprofit led by MDUSD parents, wrote this blog that is full of resources for how to talk to children about current national events with age appropriate questions, primary source analysis, media literacy, and exploration of biases, power and privilege.
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Computer Science Education Week

Happy Computer Science Education Week!

Congratulations to our MDUSD award winners from East Bay CUE: Principal Lisa Sullivan for the Administrator of the Year Award and Teacher Shauna Hawes for Affiliate Leader of the Year Award! CUE stands for Computer Using Educators and East Bay CUE has led a regional STEM symposium annually, including free professional development and tech prizes. 

Some MDUSD schools participate in Hour of Code or feature other tech opportunities. What's happening at your school?

This week:

Read on for:

  1. School Board meeting Dec 14th
  2. Superintendent’s Friday letter
  3. Stanford Young Women’s Leadership Summit - apply by Dec 12th
  4. AAUW new STEM webinar for high school girls Dec 13th
  5. Mindfulness for you - every Tuesday 5pm
  6. HOPE seeking holiday donations for homeless students
  7. Free suicide prevention training for students/educators

Next School Board Meeting Monday Dec 14th

Find the agenda here, along with information about the live broadcast and the opportunities for public comments.

**Dr Clark just announced his recommendation to the Board that reopening our MDUSD schools in hybrid should be postponed until the Board can re-evaluate at the next board meeting on January 13, 2021.  The board will discuss this on Dec 14th.**

Superintendent's Friday letter

Click here to read Dr Clark’s Dec 4th letter including: 

  • Trustee Joanne Durkee reflects on public service
  • Reopening Goals Shaped by Negotiations and Pandemic Restrictions
  • Meet Keisha Nzewi, New Trustee for Area 3
  • Organizational Update to the Board
  • This Week In Our Community - including thank you donors to MDUSD Education Foundation’s #GivingTuesday campaign for middle & high school science! 

Young Women’s Leadership Summit 

I was thrilled to see this from Aava Farhadi, a recent MDUSD graduate who is now a student at Stanford University.  She’s organizing “The Young Women's Leadership Summit” (YWLS), which is Stanford Women in Business' FREE annual conference for female high school students in California.

They aim to introduce young women to a variety of business disciplines, and during the 2-day-long conference, attendees will listen to and learn from accomplished women leaders, gain hands-on experience through workshops, and interact with industry professionals, Stanford students, and motivated peers. It will run from January 23-24, 2021 from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM (PDT) each day.

They strongly encourage students from the following backgrounds to apply:

  • Underrepresented in business, defined as being African American, Hispanic/Latino or Native American
  • Underserved, defined as coming from low socioeconomic means, which may be indicated by qualification for free/reduced lunch
  • Potentially the first family member to attend college
  • Coming from a high school with low admittance rates to top-tier colleges, or rural high schools

Please share this far and wide to MDUSD high school students!

Please apply here by Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 11:59 PM (PDT).

New AAUW free webinar STEM series for high school girls

AAUW-OML continues their free webinar series with the goal of encouraging high school girls to stay in STEM classes and pursue STEM related college degrees and careers.  Girls/Women still make up only 32% of those earning STEM related college degrees. Women in STEM careers will talk about their educational path, what they actually do in their job, and demonstrate how all girls can pursue STEM careers, while letting them know that the STEM career field is varied and there is a career in STEM for everyone.  Students, register now before it fills up at https://oml-ca.aauw.net/girls4stem-webinars/

WEBINAR #2  DECEMBER 13, 2020  4 PM PST

“My Career from the Lab to Launching New Consumer Products”, featuring Deborah Martin  MPH/CIH, Global Manager. Product Stewardship & Regulatory, Dupont Nutrition and Biosciences

Register in advance for this webinar: HERE

Mindfulness for YOU every Tuesday 5pm

Have you tried out the new weekly free family Mindfulness sessions on Tuesdays 5-5:30pm? (Sesiones virtuales de Atencion Plena).   Mindful Life Project are providing these free sessions to support your mental and emotional wellness. Sessions are easy to join and are open to MDUSD parents, students, caregivers, and staff. They are held through Zoom every Tuesday evening in English and in Spanish from 5:00PM-5:30PM. Click here to try the English mindfulness session or clic aqui para espanol 

**Please share these out far and wide so as many people can join as possible before they end.

HOPE Holiday Drive for Homeless Students

Mt. Diablo Unified School District is committed to making sure that all students arrive at school ready and able to learn. To supplement our services, our Homeless Outreach Program for Education (HOPE) is requesting donations for our holiday program to support our homeless students in the School District. We are asking for gift cards from the following types of places where kids can purchase something just for themselves:

  • Target •Walmart •99 Cents/Dollar Tree
  • Old Navy • GAP • Chuck E. Cheese
  • Generic prepaid credit cards •Fast Food & Other Restaurants

We are requesting card denominations of $25 or $50, with the amounts clearly marked on the cards with a Sharpie so recipients know how much is available for them to spend. Gift cards can be mailed or delivered to:

Mt. Diablo HOPE 2730 Salvio Street, Room 24 Concord, CA 94519

You can also make a tax-deductible cash donation by sending a check to the above address, or by utilizing the phone app Venmo and sending funds to MDUSD HOPE.

Cash donations will be used to purchase holiday gift cards, and if there is cash remaining after gift cards have been provided for every HOPE student, then the money will be used to support HOPE students throughout the year (i.e. food, gas to get to school, senior activities/pictures, fines, clothing for interviews, prom, yearbooks, brief emergency shelter, and other needs as they may arise). We are asking that donations be made by December 4, 2020.

Please call or e-mail the HOPE program with questions at (925) 682-8000 x3054 and [email protected] All donations we receive go to our homeless youth at MDUSD!

Thank you for sharing HOPE!

Free Suicide Prevention Training for Students/Educators

I mentioned this previously when the state held a live youth summit on the topic. Since then I signed up and took the training myself, and I found it extremely valuable. It includes scenarios and practicing out loud what you would say in various situations. I feel much more prepared to help anyone that might be considering suicide now that I was before. A few scenarios were between students texting - which many of our students may be running into right now.  Let me know if you take the training too - I'd love to connect and discuss.

CALIFORNIA STUDENTS!

To sign up for your LivingWorks Start suicide prevention training:

visit www.lwyouthsummit.com/access or text start to 888-707-0780.

You'll learn skills to help a friend or classmate, and you'll get 90 minutes of community service learning credit!

Once you sign up you have 60 days to complete the training.

 

Stay safe out there,

Cherise

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Reopening, Transfers, Mindfulness, STEM

It's been a stressful time, between COVID and the elections, full of uncertainty and division.  Today I am hopeful though, that together we can work to ensure the best public education possible within safety guidelines.  In this Friday's Superintendent letter you will see efforts to improve communication and input in the process to redesign public education in these uncharted waters.

We as the board have received many, many emails. I read every single one, but I have not been able to answer them each individually. My hope is that the Superintendent sessions and Board study sessions keep you informed as we continue to refine and adjust based on your feedback.  Please see the Friday letter for the latest draft hybrid schedules.

I'm thankful also to see the new weekly free family Mindfulness sessions on Tuesdays 5-5:30pm (Sesiones virtuales de Atencion Plena).  

Read on for specifics on:

  1. Superintendent Friday Letter: including new Board members, draft hybrid schedule, mindfulness & more!
  2. Transfer applications due Nov 15th
    • Holbrook Dual Language 6th grade info night Nov 10th
    • YVHS International Baccalaureate info night Nov 12th
  3. School Board meeting Nov 9th
  4. Board Study Session Tuesday Nov 17th 
  5. AAUW new STEM webinar for high school girls
  6. HOPE seeking holiday donations for homeless students

Superintendent Friday letter

Click here to read about

  • Erin McFerrin and Keisha Nzewi Win MDUSD Board Seats
  • Superintendent Floats Detailed Hybrid Schedule Drafts for Review (click to give your feedback)
  • Superintendent Answers General Questions about Reopening - Written FAQ Available
  • For Your Review: Our District Organizational Update
  • “ParentSquare" to Serve as District-Wide Communications Tool
  • Mindfulness - Free Virtual Sessions Available to You (Tuesday nights 5pm)
  • Advisory: District-Wide Systems Improvement Outage Scheduled
  • COVID-19 Testing and Free Flu Shots

I hope to see you at the new Mindfulness free workshop on Tuesday night!

Transfer applications due Nov 15th

Do you have a 6th - 11th grade student who might be considering transferring to a school other than your assigned neighborhood school?  We are fortunate here in Mt Diablo to have a variety of schools with specialized programs that your student might be interested in.  Ygnacio Valley High is the only school in our region with the International Baccalaureate program, and Holbrook Language Academy has expanded dual language learning into middle school.  Visit https://mdusd-ca.schoolloop.com/transfers for the online transfer application & info.  And here are informational nights for parents/students to find out more:

  • Holbrook Language Academy 6th grade info night - Tuesday, November 10 at 5:30 pm
    (Contact holbrook.mdusd.org for zoom link.)

    • All current 5th graders from our wonderful Dual Language Schools are welcome to apply:
      Bel Air, Bancroft, Cambridge, Meadow Homes, Shore Acres, and Ygnacio Valley Elementary.

    • Holbrook Language Academy desea invitarlos a las noches de información para padres para los estudiantes que ingresen a sexto grado Programa DUAL de IDIOMAs inglés/español para el año escolar 2021-2022.

  • Ygnacio Valley High International Baccalaureate info night - Thursday, November 12th at 7pm
    • Register here for the zoom link.  Students welcome!
    • Come to our IB Info Night to learn what the International Baccalaureate Programme here at Ygnacio Valley High School is all about. There will be a student panel and time to ask teachers about the IB curriculum and what makes it so special.

      Some of the questions we'll be answering:
      What is IB?
      Why take IB classes?
      Does IB really make students College & Career Ready?
      How does IB increase a student's chance of being accepted to the college of their choice?
      What is the difference between IB and AP?
      How do students apply to be an IB student at YVHS?
      How do parents request an intradistrict transfer to YVHS? (Deadline is November 15th!)

      JUEVES 12 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2020
      7 a 8 pm

      Venga a nuestra Noche de Información IB para aprender de qué se trata el Programa de Bachillerato Internacional aquí en Ygnacio Valley High School. Habrá un panel de estudiantes y tiempo para preguntarles a los maestros sobre el plan de estudios del IB y qué lo hace tan especial.

      Algunas de las preguntas que estaremos respondiendo:
      ¿Qué es IB?
      ¿Por qué tomar clases de IB?
      ¿El IB realmente prepara a los estudiantes para la universidad y la carrera?
      ¿Cómo aumenta el IB las posibilidades de que un estudiante sea aceptado en la universidad de su elección?
      ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre IB y AP?
      ¿Cómo se postulan los alumnos para ser alumnos del IB en YVHS?
      ¿Cómo solicitan los padres una transferencia dentro del distrito a YVHS? (¡La fecha límite es el 15 de noviembre!)

      Si está interesado en obtener más información, complete el formulario de registro a continuación para recibir el enlace de Zoom.

Next School Board Meeting Monday Nov 9th

Find the agenda here, along with information about the live broadcast and the opportunities for public comments.  

Board Study Session Tuesday Nov 17th 

We continue to examine how best to reopen schools in person to students in our district. Superintendent Clark has scheduled a special study session on this topic, starting at 4pm on Tuesday Nov 17th.  The agenda will be posted here: https://www.mdusd.org/boardmeetings 

New AAUW free webinar STEM series for high school girls

AAUW-OML is launching a new free webinar series with the goal of encouraging high school girls to stay in STEM classes and pursue STEM related college degrees and careers.  This series is focusing on high school girls, but girls and boys can register for it.  Girls/Women still make up only 32% of those earning STEM related college degrees. Women in STEM careers will talk about their educational path, what they actually do in their job, and demonstrate how all girls can pursue STEM careers, while letting them know that the STEM career field is varied and there is a career in STEM for everyone.  Students, register now before it fills up at https://oml-ca.aauw.net/girls4stem-webinars/

WEBINAR # 1 Sunday, November 22, 2020   4:00 p.m. 

“Engineering with a Purpose”, with Adrienne Johnson

  

Register in advance for this webinar: HERE

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Topic: “Engineering with Purpose”, with Adrienne Johnson, B.S. Civil Engineer; M.S. Sustainable Design and Construction, 2016. How she built a Net Zero Energy School in S. Africa while still in College.

Adrienne Johnson (Sustainability and Project Engineer @Point Energy Innovation)

Adrienne Johnson, BA/BS Stanford University.  Sustainability and Project Engineer for Point Energy Innovation.  While getting her Master’s degree, Adrienne was project leader for a NET Zero Energy project designing the Parkwood Tech Center school in Cape Town, South Africa, in a community disadvantaged by the legacy of apartheid.  She and a co-lead won the prestigious Leadership Award from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2017.   Adrienne is considered one of the top “20 to Watch: Women in HVAC” for her achievements in designing sustainable buildings.  She is a member of Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), U.G. Green Building Council (USGBC) and many others.

HOPE Holiday Drive for Homeless Students

Mt. Diablo Unified School District is committed to making sure that all students arrive at school ready and able to learn. To supplement our services, our Homeless Outreach Program for Education (HOPE) is requesting donations for our holiday program to support homeless students in the School District. They are asking for gift cards from the following types of places where kids can purchase something just for themselves:

  • Target • Walmart • 99 Cents/Dollar Tree
  • Old Navy • GAP • Chuck E. Cheese
  • Generic prepaid credit cards • Fast Food & Other Restaurants

We are requesting card denominations of $25 or $50, with the amounts clearly marked on the cards with a Sharpie so recipients know how much is available for them to spend. Gift cards can be mailed or delivered to:

Mt. Diablo HOPE 2730 Salvio Street, Room 24 Concord, CA 94519

You can also make a tax-deductible cash donation by sending a check to the above address, or by utilizing the phone app Venmo and sending funds to MDUSD HOPE.

Cash donations will be used to purchase holiday gift cards, and if there is cash remaining after gift cards have been provided for every HOPE student, then the money will be used to support HOPE students throughout the year (i.e. food, gas to get to school, senior activities/pictures, fines, clothing for interviews, prom, yearbooks, brief emergency shelter, and other needs as they may arise). We are asking that donations be made by December 4, 2020.

Please call or e-mail the HOPE program with questions at (925) 682-8000 x3054 and [email protected] All donations we receive go to our homeless youth at MDUSD!

Thank you for sharing HOPE!

Sincerely, your friends at the HOPE Program

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Ready to vote?

Did you receive your ballot yet?  I just did, and I plan to vote this week. 

We have excellent candidates for Mt Diablo School Board this year, and tonight is a candidate forum during the CAC Oct 6th meeting at 7pm.  Check out candidate profiles and more at https://votersedge.org/ca

Also our Mt Diablo School Board unanimously endorsed Prop 15: Schools and Communities First, which would bring desperately needed funding back to our schools, cities and county.

You might also be interested in this Latino Voter Guide / Guia Para Votantes Latinos.

 

My latest news is that I just graduated from Masters in Governance - a series of courses from California State School Board Association that equips board members and superintendents with the knowledge and skills to build and support an effective governance structure.

 

And as a parent I was happy to attend virtual back to school nights for both my kids, witnessing first hand the incredible caring & creativity each teacher puts into building relationships with students in this challenging time, as well as taking the time to connect with parents. I am so thankful.

 

Read on for specifics on:

  1. Board Study Session Oct 7th on Reopening School 
  2. School Board meeting Oct 12
  3. Resources:

Board Study Session Oct 7th on Reopening School 

We’ve received many questions about when/where/how we could reopen schools in person to students in our district. That is why Superintendent Clark wrote in his Friday letter about scheduling a special study session on this topic, starting at 3pm on Wednesday Oct 7th.

The agenda is posted here: https://mdusd.org/boardagendas and is focused on a conversation among board members and staff about reopening plans.  If you have questions or ideas to share on that topic, please email [email protected]. There will also be an option to join the meeting live to speak via zoom - how-to information will be posted here on that day.

There is one other topic on the agenda and that is the updating of board policies that relate to Charter schools. These are a simple update from the recent law changes in 2019.

Next School Board Meeting Monday Oct 12th 

Find the agenda here, along with information about the live broadcast and the opportunities for public comments.  

Oct 12th is also Indiginous People’s Day.  One current effort to improve the accuracy and inclusion of our teaching is the CA state Ethnic Studies draft model curriculum. This is geared towards teachers of Ethnic Studies classes (MDUSD currently has one at YVHS and one at CHS), but excerpts from it may be used by any teacher.

LivingWorks Youth Summit 

On September 15, TikTok star and comedian Caitlin Reilly emceed this online streaming event. Actress Lexi Underwood, International Slam Dunk Champion Kenny Dobbs, YouTube Vlogger Lavendaire, AGT winner Shin Lim and more spoke to California middle and high school students at the LivingWorks Youth Summit with one main message: together, we can save lives from suicide. They shared their own struggles of mental health, resilience and hope, intertwined with music, performances and interviews. Watch Here

The Summit was the official launch of the CDE’s online suicide prevention training for staff and students. LivingWorks Start is a 90-minute online suicide prevention skills training program available at no cost to CDE staff, teachers and students through the 58 county offices of education.

To sign up for your LivingWorks Start suicide prevention trainingvisit www.lwyouthsummit.com/access or text start to 888-707-0780.

You'll learn skills to help a friend or classmate, and you'll get 90 minutes of community service learning credit!​  Once you sign up you have 60 days to complete the training.

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High School Voter Education Weeks

Are you ready to celebrate #HispanicHeritageMonth? How about #HighSchoolVoterEducationWeeks?  Both begin today!

Read on for specifics on:

  1. School Board meeting tonight
  2. School District Friday letter
  3. High School Voter Education Weeks starts today
  4. Yes on Prop 15: Schools & Communities First
  5. How to Get Involved / Resources for
    • Students - apply for student School Board position - due Sept 18! 
    • Parents - input meetings Sept 17, 22, 23
    • Teachers - Hispanic Heritage teaching tools, equitablemath.org 

School Board Meeting Tonight, Sept 14, 6pm

Tonight’s school board meeting includes Resolutions to recognize Hispanic Heritage Month as well as Suicide Prevention, appointments of two principals, and a public hearing on the renewal of Rocketship Futuro Charter School. 

Find the agenda here, and look at the agenda header for information about the live broadcast and the opportunities for public comments.

MDUSD Friday letter Sept 11

This MDUSD Friday letter is once again chock full of information for you: from the Organizational Update to the student board member application, from the upcoming college fair Sept 29th to Suicide Prevention resources and COVID testing.

High school Voter Education Weeks Starts Today

From CA Dept of Education: California Education Code designates the last two weeks in September as High School Voter Education Weeks. We encourage schools to designate students as voter outreach coordinators to lead the efforts to pre-register and register their peers.

Students, visit https://registertovote.ca.gov/ to register or pre-register to vote. 

It is now easier than ever to get sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds civically engaged through pre-registration. Once pre-registered, they will automatically become active voters on their eighteenth birthday.

Administrators, students, and parents: visit the Secretary of State’s High School and Youth Initiatives web page portal, which includes important information about voter registration and pre-registration, the Student Mock Election, the Student Poll Worker program, and High School Voter Education Weeks: https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/high-school-programs/.

 

Yes on Prop 15: Schools & Communities First

Did you see that Governor Gavin Newsom endorsed Prop 15 Schools & Communities First? 

“Because it exempts small businesses and residential property owners, and funds essential services such as public schools…”

It has been estimated that MDUSD would receive $18 million more per year if Prop 15 passes. What a difference that would make!  That is why our MDUSD School Board voted unanimously on a resolution in support of this measure. Visit https://www.yes15.org/ for more details and to join the campaign. 

How to Get Involved / Resources for 

Students:

Click here to apply for the new MDUSD Student Board Position. Applications are due by September 18, 2020. 

 Note that a successful Student Board Member must:

*  Be currently enrolled as a senior (grade 12) in a MDUSD high school

*  Hold and maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average

*  Be enrolled in 20 credits

*  Be available to attend all scheduled Board meetings (typically two per month)

*  Provide one letter of recommendation from a teacher, administrator, or community member

Student Members will serve from October 2020 - June 30, 2021.   Applications will be reviewed by the MDUSD Executive Cabinet and a finalist will be interviewed by the MDUSD Board of Education.

Parents:

Our district has ongoing committee meetings that you are welcome to attend!

Find details at mdusd.org at Parents & Community / Get Involved.  Next meetings:

Sept 17th:

  • Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) -  3:30-5pm
  • District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) - 5:30pm
  • Measure J Oversight - 5pm
  • Measure C Oversight - 7pm

Sept 22nd: Stay tuned for a Board Study Session, likely to be scheduled Sept 22nd, including a Hearing on the Learning Continuity Attendance Plan (LCAP) - report that is due to the state by Sept 30. Our MDUSD board will vote to approve the final report draft at our Sept 28th school board mtg.

Sept 23:

  • Budget Advisory Committee  (5pm)  

Need help getting school supplies, tech, internet? Remember to contact your school and ask for help. We want to make sure all students have what they need for successful distance learning.

 

Teachers: 

Thank you teachers for sharing your fantastic ideas on Twitter!

  • Teaching Tolerance just posted how to bring Latinx voices into the classroom and uplift a diverse range of Hispanic & Latinx identities, experiences, cultures and histories.  Perfect for our #HispanicHistoryMonth resolution
  • check out equitablemath.org - “A pathway to equitable math instruction” Resources and guidance to support Black, LatinX, and Multilingual students to thrive in grades 6-8
  • And Dr Nadine Burke Harris - our wonderful CA surgeon general - authored Trauma is Written into our Bodies, but Educators can Help - “Educators can deliver the daily doses of healing interactions that truly are the antidote to toxic stress.  Giving children the tools to understand how to recognize what’s going on with them, then how to respond - especially to be able to calm their bodies down - truly is healing.”
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Aug 24 update: coping through smoke days

As the fires rage and COVID is still strong, many of you have been asking how you can help those most deeply affected. Read on for specifics on:

  1. How to help
  2. School District Friday letter
  3. School Board meeting tonight
  4. Resources for
    • Parents
    • Student help & leadership opportunities
    • Teachers - coping tools for challenging times 

How to help

  • School Supply Donations: Please share out this flyer - donations are still welcome to help ensure all our Mt. Diablo Unified School District students have the school supplies they need. Especially needed are headphones, dry erase boards & markers. El Dorado Middle School is where the supplies are being organized for students districtwide, so please drop off or mail directly to 1750 West St, Concord, CA 94521

 

  • MDUSD Education Foundation Distance Learning Fund: This all volunteer nonprofit is dedicated to ensuring quality STEAM opportunities for all MDUSD students districtwide. Your donations to their COVID Remote Learning fund this spring/summer already provided 100 chromebooks to MDUSD students!  Give today to their Distance Learning Fund at https://www.mdedf.org/donate to meet ongoing student needs.  
    • Does your business support our local schools? Check out their Honor Roll Business & Honor Roll Professional programs too!

MDUSD Friday letter August 21st

Read Dr Clark's MDUSD Friday letter - chock full of information for you: from the Organizational Update to new flyers & application for free school meals, from Parent Academy training to hotlines and resources for disasters, stress relief, and emotional well being.

This part really spoke to me, and I hope it does to you too:

“When the smoke clears, I hope you remember that you faced these challenges with great courage and resilience. When the smoke clears, I hope you remember that you had been kind to yourself and that you had taken opportunities to extend a helping hand. When the smoke clears, I hope you remember that you were not alone. We will make it through!”

School Board Meeting Tonight, Aug 24th, 6pm

This Monday’s meeting includes appointments of several Vice Principals and a Database Adminstrator, as well as a vote on the Board Bylaw for a Student School Board member, and votes on technology infrastructure projects.

Find the agenda here, and look at the agenda header for information about the live broadcast and the opportunities for public comments.

Resources for 

Parents:

  • School meals: the government is no longer funding school districts to give out meals to all children, as was allowed during school closures and summer.  So parents should fill out the Free & Reduced Lunch application as soon as possible. Here are the direct links to English and Spanish applications.(more languages available on the application page

Much of school funding is based on the percent of students who qualify for free & reduced lunch.  It is used as an indicator of poverty, and our state provides "weighted dollars" to give higher poverty schools extra resources to meet student needs. Federal dollars and grants are based on this as well.  So it is crucial that we encourage all families who may qualify to fill out the application.  Learn more at Ed100 Parent Leader Guide- School Funding: https://ed100.org/plg-school-funding

And, please spread the word that applying for free school lunches does not have any effect on immigration status or public charge. So even if a family is undocumented, they should feel it is safe to apply for school meals.

  • Get involved: MDUSD has advisory committees where you can share your ideas & experiences.  Anyone is welcome to attend since these are public meetings, or you can reach out to your site principal to inquire about being added as the official site representative.  Find details here.  Next meetings coming up:
    • Community Advisory Committee: Sept 1st, 8pm
    • Equity Advisory Committee: Sept 3rd, 3:30pm 
    • District English Learner Advisory Committee: Sept 17th, 5:30pm
    • Parent Advisory Committee: Sept 17th, 3:30pm
    • Budget Advisory Committee: Sept 23rd, 5pm
  • Need help getting school supplies, tech, internet? Please be sure to contact your school and ask for help with anything you need. We want to make sure every student has what they need for successful distance learning.

Students:

  • Student Advisory Committee (SAC) for MDUSD Education Foundation - Apply Now! (Deadline extended to Aug 31st)  They are not only looking for students who are passionate about making a difference within MDUSD, but also those who represent the diversity and unique experiences that is a cornerstone of our district. Find the application here

  • Free High School Engineering Program for Female-Identifying Students - apply by Sept 12th at swe.berkeley.edu/hsep

  • AP Class Free Online Digital Tools: Did you know that https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/ provides digital tools to help you improve your performance all year long? Their online resources are mobile-friendly, so you can access them anytime, anywhere. To get the most out of AP, sign in there and use the join code your AP teacher shares with you to join your class section.
  • Having trouble checking your school email? Vice Principal Arianda Hernandez at Oak Grove Middle School made a tutorial to help you out! Feel free to share 👌🏽 She also made it en español 💃🏻 Here is the Oak Grove MS YouTube Channel where you can find those and more: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2Y-V5UNxw61qRooFMNLBuA

 

Teachers:

Congratulations on surviving week one!  Thank you all for your amazing creativity and dedication to engaging students through distance learning.  It’s a daunting challenge, and an opportunity to redesign education to be more inclusive, culturally responsive, and student centered. I share the resource below as not only a set of tools you might find useful, but also a potential community of educators you can join who are supporting each other in small yet powerful ways.

Free Coping Tools for Challenging Times: MDUSD parent and psychologist Katie Raher shares free resources, printables and ideas for compassionate self care and teaching social emotional wellness on her website here.

 

Take care out there!  Wishing you all safety and good health.

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Donation match today

Hi everyone, 

I know there are a lot of moving parts right now with walk throughs and school startup planning, but I wanted to quickly highlight just a few timely items:

1. Donors Choose donations are matched TODAY Aug 11

2. Anti-Racism Conference this week

3. District COVID 2020-21 webpage

Donors Choose Match Today

Hey everyone, TODAY Aug 11th all donations are being matched on DonorsChoose, so check out all the Mt. Diablo Unified School District projects.  You can search by District or School.  Here are a few of the exciting projects I've seen so far:
Please give any amount you can today.  Let's see how many of these we can bring to life together for MDUSD students!

Anti Racism Conference This Week

Looking for how you can work actively to remove racism from our schools?

Check out this group Educators for Anti-Racism, their conference workshops this week with some notable speakers, and their resource lists.

They are "a grassroots movement of teachers committed to abolitionist and anti-racist principles. We are determined, through our collective power, to bring systemic change to our schools."  https://www.edantiracism.com/

I'm planning to attend the District Leaders workshop on Wednesday at 2pm (5pm eastern).  See the full list here and note they will be recorded for future viewing as well.

District COVID 2020-21 webpage

Got Questions?  The district has some more answers.  Check out this new webpage for:

  • Enrollment
  • Approved MOU with our Teachers Union MDEA
  • Technology access
  • Meals information
  • Childcare resources
  • Parent Academy and more

https://mdusd.org/2020-21

 

Together we can do this. We can build relationships, reach out to all students, and support each other in navigating the world of education during a pandemic.  

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School Starts Aug 17

This week our MDUSD school board voted to revise the school calendar so that students will now begin school on August 17th instead of Aug 13th.  Staff also reported that Google Classroom and Seesaw will be the overall Learning Management Systems to be used districtwide.  Google Classroom can be integrated with Aeries/Homelink to create a more seamless experience for students, parents and teachers.

The 2020-21 reopening plan has just been posted on the Roadmap to Reopen page and updates will continue to be posted there.  School websites will post more detailed information on registration, schedules and how to pick up materials for distance learning.

Read on for:

  • Students - 3 opportunities for you to lead!
  • Internet Options
  • Childcare
  • Equity tools
  • Next Board mtg Aug 10th

Students - 3 opportunities for you to lead!

    1. GENup - Generationup.net - a CA based student led organization advocating for education through the power of youth voices. The Mt Diablo Acalanes chapter is led by Northgate student Michelle Alas. They are hoping to expand now to include students from all high schools in Mt Diablo. Apply now here 
    2. Empowered - www.empoweredusa.org - This student led, contra costa based organization is dedicated to fostering youth engagement in local and national democracy. We center our advocacy around issues that matter to young people and seek to involve the community through phone banking and virtual campaigning. 
    3. County Health Services Looking for COVID-19 Youth Ambassadors - Young adult voices needed to help stop the spread of the virus
      • We know young people can have the virus without experiencing any symptoms, so they can spread it to others unknowingly, including to those at high risk. 
      • One key to ending this pandemic is helping young people protect themselves and protect others, symptoms or not. Youth voices are the most effective in communicating with each other. Your power and leadership are needed! 
      • In this new program, the Ambassadors will help create youth/young adult focused messages on protecting yourself from COVID-19, and on getting tested. Ambassadors will help spread the messages on social media. 
      • Each ambassador will receive a $525 stipend. 
      • Application deadline is August 3.
      • Apply online here.
      • Other details:
        • Open to youth/young adults between ages 15 and 24.
        • Campaign will last through 2020.
        • Ambassadors will participate in focus groups, surveys, interviews.
        • 25 Ambassadors are being recruited from all parts of the County

Childcare

CocoKids is our local county nonprofit that can help you find the childcare that you need at https://www.cocokids.org/find-child-care/

Internet Options

    • Click the link and type in your address to find the closest hotspot near you.Everyone can now access out-of-home Xfinity WiFi hotspots for free: These hotspots are normally located in business areas, retail locations and transit areas. To find your nearest hotspot, enter your zip code. Once you are at the location, follow the instructions at xfinity.com/wifi to join the hotspot. These 1.5 million hotspots are now free for all who need them through this challenging time.
  • MDUSD did also purchase 600 hotspots to check out to students who struggle to access the internet, as we understand from this study that the affordable "deals" are still inaccessible to families who are unhoused, unbanked or undocumented.  We aim to ensure every student is connected, so please contact your school principal or staff if you need to check out one of these mobile hotspots along with your chromebook.

Equity Tools

Shared by MDUSD teachers:

Next School Board Mtg Aug 10th

Find the agenda here when it is posted, and look at the top of the agenda for how to make public comments via email or phone. There you can also watch prior board meetings. Click here to access the Board Action Summaries.

I hope you all are finding moments of peace, health, and inspiration amidst the stresses of this time!

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Welcome Dr Clark & fall planning

We've been busy this summer on the MDUSD School Board!  Read on for summaries of

  • Superintendent hire
  • Board direction for Distance Learning
  • Fall Planning - task forces & technology
  • Next Board mtg July 27th
  • Summer Resources

Welcome Dr Clark!

One of the most important roles of a school board is the hiring of the Superintendent, and on Monday we officially appointed Dr Adam Clark as Superintendent of MDUSD.  He comes to our district with an amazing skill set and breadth of experience, having taught at every level, and championed student success in a wide variety of settings from Principal of Miramonte High in Orinda to Superintendent of Vallejo Unified School District. I can't wait to see him in action, building relationships with all corners of our district community!  Please give him a warm welcome.

Board Actions - starting the school year with Distance Learning

As reported in East Bay Times and summarized well by Board President Lawrence, our School Board did advise to begin the school year with distance learning.

You can watch the video of Monday night's July 13th meeting here, including the presentation and discussion of fall planning.  Each board member gave their perspective and then Dr Clark summarized what he heard, saying:

"I want to start from a place of unity... we need to be intentional as we move forward... we are going to have to build trust, have open dialogue and be transparent to do what is best for students, staff and families.  I'm hearing from the board that distance learning is how we're going to start off...  We will begin now to identify what we need to address immediately and what can be planned for longer term...  I want to get input from as many people as possible... be intentional, out of respect and collaboration and what is best for all students, all staff, all families." 

Click to the following times in the video for:

  • Public comments, such as this one from a Meadow Homes teacher (my dog Tiger Lily listened along too) - 1:28:16
  • Student Board Member proposal presented by student Michelle Alas - 2:03:00
  • Reopening Plan Presentation - 2:40:38
  • My comments re fall planning needed specifics - 3:44:50
  • Dr Clark - 4:08:55

It's exciting to see the potential of increasing student leadership in our district by bringing on an official student board member. Thank you all who signed Michelle's petition to encourage this action. I hope that we are able to make that a reality very soon.

Fall Planning

Task Forces – Thank you to all who are participating in the deep details of fall reopening of schools. With such a diverse group of perspectives in each workgroup, the best ideas are brought forward through deliberative discussions and recommended based on student needs and priorities.  I look forward to seeing each workgroup’s deliverables.

We all understand that workgroup tasks will overlap, and not all recommendations from all groups will make it into the final plan. However I know that so many parents, teachers, staff put in much time, thought and effort into those deliverables and they contain the level of detail that we need in order to make these crucial decisions.

Technology readiness –

I shared at the board meeting that I think it's time for action in 3 areas to ensure readiness for distance learning on day 1 of school this fall:  the board needs to see and approve specific recommendations for hardware, software and tech help.

  • hardware - 
    • # of devices and cost it would take to get to 1:1 chromebooks grades 3-12 and ipads/tablets for preK-2.  
    • Devices & cost for the specialized needs of certain classes
      • such as Digital Academy that provides dual credit with DVC but requires Adobe that doesn't run on a chromebook
    • internet accessibility - how many mobile hotspots would it take to provide one to every homeless/foster/newcomer or student who was disconnected last spring?  When are the 600 ordered hotspots going to arrive and how will they be synched with chromebooks and then distributed out to students or schools?
  • software - 
    • Step 1: What LMS (Learning Management System) is recommended for MDUSD to adopt?
      • LMS integrates Google classroom, attendance, and all distance learning into one comprehensive resource for students, families teachers and administrators. Thus it organizes all the aspects into one place for access, monitoring and reporting, and should remove a lot of the disjointed confusion that was a reality in the spring (e.g. other districts use Schoology or Canvas)
      • Teachers, admin & staff should be trained on the LMS before school starts.
    • what apps/programs are teachers/schools using already, what else has been requested by them? 
      • which can be narrowed down to for more consistent usage and less confusion by parents/students.  
    • What is the cost of the ideal package solution?  the prioritized immediate needs?
  • tech help - 
    • what management software should be set up by August for our district to have a robust tech help system for teachers and multilingual for parents, accessible via email/text/phone.  
    • what staffing is necessary to make this work (vs current staffing levels)

At the board meeting I requested we schedule a special board workshop to cover this topic, to ensure that we as a board, district and our students and families know that we will have the infrastructure and technology support ready to begin distance learning Aug 13th.

Return to School – Thank you to all who gave feedback!  We must acknowledge the extreme burden on parents right now, especially those who must work outside the home and are struggling to ensure childcare and continued learning for their children. Even though we plan to begin with 100% remote learning, we must do all we can to help parents cope.  This is also why I prefer a phased in approach: start with 100% distance, and right away form tight partnerships with community childcare providers to refer our essential working families to.  Then as soon as it's feasible with healthcare precautions in place, begin to bring students onto campus in very small groups for extra support needs such as IEPs, counseling, study space or language support.  West Contra Costa calls this the "student support hub model." (aqui en espanol)  In phase 3 I would prioritize bringing in person learning to our youngest learners – preK-2 - who distance learning is especially challenging for at the age where they are just beginning to “learn how to be a student”.

This is an ever changing landscape, so please keep sharing your ideas and priorities with us.  Governor Newsom is expected to make an announcement tomorrow at noon about school re-opening as well.

Next Board meeting

The next MDUSD school board meeting is scheduled for July 27th. Find the agenda here - and look at the top of the agenda for how to make public comments via email or phone. Click here to access the Board Action Summaries.

Summer Resources

  • Urban Debate League: Some MDUSD students are participating in this free debate camp this week, learning about and discussing criminal justice.  Bay Area Urban Debate League's mission is "To make competitive policy debate available to every public high school student." They have also offered to partner with MDUSD Title I middle and high schools to potentially offer school year debate at those schools.  Watch their alumni Demo Debate here
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Happy Juneteenth

Happy Juneteenth!

This message from Michelle Obama says so much about today:
"Most of us were taught that slavery came to an end when President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. But as is so often the case, the full promise of this country was delayed for segments of the African-American community. And for enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, freedom didn’t come until June 19, 1865.
And what I love about #Juneteenth is that even in that extended wait, we still find something to celebrate. Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress. I think of my own family’s journey. Both of my grandfathers were the grandchildren of enslaved people. They grew up in the Jim Crow South and migrated north in search of a better life. But even then, they were still shut out of jobs and schools and opportunities because of the color of their skin. But they pressed forward with dignity and with purpose, raising good kids, contributing to their communities, and voting in every election. And though they didn’t live to see it themselves, I can see the smiles on their faces knowing that their great-granddaughters ended up playing ball in the halls of the White House—a magnificent structure built by enslaved Americans.
All across the country, there are so many more parts to this story—the generations of families whose work and service and protest has led us forward, even if the promise we seek is often delayed. This Juneteenth, let’s all pledge to keep using our voices—and our votes—to keep that story marching forward for our own children, and theirs."

Here are some excellent events, actions and initiatives you can support in honor of this day:

  • Tomorrow on Saturday, June 20, 2pm, there is an online event co-hosted by MDUSD Parents for Multicultural Education: in honor of Juneteenth to hear speakers' personal stories and lived wisdom about celebrating Blackness, advocating for representation, and taking action to elevate Black history, culture, community and power. We welcome you; don't forget to register! Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87669316520

MDUSD Unanimously Approved Board Equity Policy and Resolution Condemning Racism

Did you know that on June 8th, MDUSD approvedResolution 19/20-68: Condemning Violence, Racism, and Injustice and Reaffirming Equity and Humanity as Central Guiding Principles and Equity Policy BP0415?

This was made possible by your support. In #Gratitude:
To the Mt. Diablo Unified School District students who spoke their truth and brainstormed solutions at that school board meeting,

To School Board President Brian Lawrence who created the space for those student voices and strongly supported placing two equity items on the agenda,

To the amazing principals, teachers, students and parents who wrote to us with their stories of the deep anti racist work they have been doing for years in our schools,

To Equity Director Jorge Melgoza and Communications Director Austin Breidenthal who spent hours with me drafting both a resolution to condemn racism and a new board equity policy,

To Willie James Mims of NAACP East County Branch who gave important feedback on the resolution and equity policy wording,

To Marcie Oliver Brown and Omega Upsilon Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for endorsing the policy and partnering with MDUSD,

To my colleagues on our school board who all unanimously voted and spoke in support of both the resolution to condemn racism and the equity policy,

Thank you. This was an important first step in our district’s journey of dismantling the institutional racism that exists in our schools.

Each of you gives me hope that together we can and will do the hard work that it takes to truly ensure our black students, staff and families feel safe, welcome, respected, and supported to success in our education system.

Anti-racist Resources for Educators and Parents to move policy into action

So how will we enact those important policies?  One immediate way is in planning for the fall opening of school. Another is in the specifics of how teachers act within their classrooms.  Here are two resources to get started.

  • Equity Guidance for Schools - Are you giving input to the MDUSD task forces for fall planning? Check out this excellent resource for specific tools to use an Equity Lens in that process!

    It is chock full of actionable ready to use tools & samples including:
    - scheduling for equity
    - how to facilitate courageous conversations
    - SEL through a race equity lens with strategies for system leaders to take action
    - culturally responsive distance learning strategies for educators
    - Equity data walk for community
    - two way multilingual communication
    - planning protocols for supporting students with disabilities
    And much more.

  • "What anti-racist teachers do differently" - an Atlantic article

School Board meeting June 22nd 

Here is the agenda for Monday’s school board meeting. This agenda includes a draft of the 2020-21 MDUSD budget, a Public Hearing and Adoption of the Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Plan and Annual Budget, renewal contracts for iReady and AVID, and more.

At the top of the agenda it shows how to submit a public comment. You don’t need to wait until the live meeting.  (I recommend submitting before 3pm on Monday) Either:

  • send an email at [email protected] - all email messages are received by all board members, and recorded on the board action summaries for that meeting, or
  • leave a voicemail message at (801) 228-0093 - all voicemails are played live during the meeting

Visit https://mdusd.org/agendasminutes for all board agendas, videos, and action summaries.

Find the MDUSD Friday letter June 12th here, which included details on Task Forces, Equity, and Campus Safety Hotline.

 

Enjoy #Juneteenth celebrations, and stay safe and masked out there!

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