Cesar Chavez Day & MDUSD Town Hall March 31st

Hi everyone,

Happy César Chávez Day celebration week!

(the official date in CA is March 31st, and MDUSD observes it on Friday April 3rd)

Thank you to all of the #Heroes out there who, like Chavez did, are working hard every day to make sure every person is treated with dignity and has access to adequate food, healthcare and education. Sí se puede!

MDUSD’s next Town Hall is tomorrow, March 31st, at 3pm. Just go to mdusd.org/townhall to watch or participate.  Hope you can make it!  If not, you can watch the recording later, as with last week's.

In this message:

  1. Superintendent Friday Letter
  2. Monument Crisis Center – how to donate or receive food
  3. MYDAC update on vaping, smoking information & resources
  4. College Board Scholarships & free SAT practice
  5. MDUSD Spirit Week

Superintendent Martinez’s Friday Letter

Here is Superintendent Martinez's March 27th Friday letter, which includes that Town Hall as well as the news that on March 25th, six bay area counties (including ours) and public health officials have made a unified, regional decision to extend school closures through May 1, 2020

Plus a few key excerpts:

  • This week MDUSD’s free community meals continue at 9 school sites district-wide for all children 18 years and younger. Please see the attached flyers for a list of locations and details: English Flyer | Spanish Flyer " 

**Also note: There is no meal service this Friday (it is the day MDUSD observes Cesar Chavez Day), and so instead double meals will be given out on Thursday.**

  • More Internet Access Opportunities: Because access to affordable home internet options for our families is highly critical, we are proud of a newly formed partnership with EveryoneOn through the California Emerging Technology Fund. Flyers that are specific to MDUSD are available here in English and in Spanish.

Monument Crisis Center – how to donate or receive food

In addition to MDUSD meals in partnership with Contra Costa Food Bank, the Monument Crisis Center has been a key part of the solution for families right now.  Please consider making a donation.

    

From MYDAC – Monument Youth Drug & Alcohol Coalition

“I'm writing today to share some resources with you. I hope these materials will serve you well while reassuring you that it's okay to seek help and assist you in taking care of yourself and your loved ones. We're in this together.  

  • Self-care.During this time, we're putting in a lot of effort to help those in need—but we also need to make sure to take care of ourselves. See CDC guide on other resources on  Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
  • Stop vaping. With schools closed due to the COVID-19 national emergency, millions of children and teens are spending a lot of time isolated from friends and extended family. This is an excellent opportunity  for parents to talk with their kids about vapingand to encourage them to stop vaping
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.The stress and anxiety which comes from the coronavirus pandemic, financial insecurity, and feelings of isolation may put people at risk of self-harm. If you're feeling alone and struggling, you can reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALKto 741741 or CALL the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

Plus I want to share with you this important information about coronavirus & vaping:

In case you aren't, please follow us on Facebook and join our Mt. Diablo Community Against Vaping Facebook Group.

Sincerely,

Laura Custodio

Monument Youth Drug & Alcohol Coalition Coordinator”

College Board Scholarships & Free SAT help

High school students, there are now more free opportunities than ever before for you online from your phone or device.

Follow The College Board on Twitter or Instagram to see their new scholarships you can earn by practicing for the SAT and more!

MDUSD Spirit Week

Lastly, help your students keep their spirits up this week with these daily activities created by wonderful MDUSD teachers! Post & share photos on whichever way is easiest for you, that your school is using, such as Class Dojo, Google Classroom, or Twitter:

Keep up your social distancing, and together we'll flatten the curve. 

Students/parents - remember to call or email your teachers, counselors or school site - they miss you and want to help!

 

Add your reaction Share

Town Hall Today 3pm

Hi everyone,

MDUSD is holding a Town Hall TODAY at 3pm! Just go to mdusd.org/townhall to watch or participate.  See you there!

(this was in the Superintendent's March 20th Friday letter, which if you missed it can be found here)

Also in the letter, did you know that meals are now being served at 9 sites?  "With the addition of Bel Air Elementary, we are providing free community meals at 9 school sites district-wide for all children 18 years and younger. Please see the attached flyers for a list of locations and details: English Flyer | Spanish Flyer "

 

 

And here are a few additional resources that have come to my attention in the past week:

  1. Free Meals App
  2. Free Groceries 
  3. Free Tutoring & AP Resources
  4. COVID resources for Undocumented communities
  5. Tools for Special Needs & Struggling Students
  6. Mental Health, Non-screen Activities, & Spirit Week

Free Meals App

Check out this new free app from CA Dept of Education!

  

Our MDUSD 9 sites are on there as you can see below, so it's a great way to share this out to our community.  Contra Costa County Food Bank has been providing fresh produce at our sites too!  From MDUSD Food Services Director Dominic Machi: "I want to thank my MDUSD Food & Nutrition Services staff for supporting me and their students. On the front lines preparing food for our kids and distributing over 5000 meals in three days (last) week. As we asked my staff on the front lines, if they would continue to do the work needed? Everyone of my staff responded" we are in this for the long haul, these are our kids". They are now my heroes and could not be more proud. Take care and be safe to all!"

        

Free Groceries: Monument Crisis Center

Monument Crisis Center is helping with groceries for entire families in the Monument area.  See their flyers here for how to access food or donate:

Free Tutoring & AP resources

Students can access from their phone a ton of resources now to stay on track with learning.  Here's two that came up just this week:

  

COVID Resources for Undocumented Communities

This comprehensive list in English & Spanish details national & CA resources for undocumented community members to access health services and education during COVID19. 

Tools for Special Needs & Struggling Students

This resource shows how teachers & parents can use over 30 Chrome web extensions that can assist students in five main categories:

  • Text to Speech
  • Readability
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Focus
  • Navigation

There's even a way to verride all fonts on a webpage with the OpenDyslexic font, making the text more easily readable!

Mental Health, Non-Screen Activities & Spirit Week

Lastly, I wanted to share a few ways to keep your spirits up and things you can do off-screen:

  • Non-Screen Activities shared by MDUSD Health Teacher on Special Assignment Courtney Longua

  • Spirit Week!  This was shared on Twitter by teachers from a few different schools: Ms Cattalini and Ms Moura. And I see some schools have their own they are sharing too.  Wonderful ways that teachers are keeping spirits up!

 

2 reactions Share

Free meals & updated resource lists

Dear Parents, Caregivers, & Community,

Happy St Patrick's Day!

I've updated my COVID19 resource list below with more distance learning, given that our MDUSD schools are now closed until at least April 12th. 

Please share this information about free meal services starting tomorrow, Wednesday March 18th, at 8 schools sites as well!

       

Resources I've compiled beyond the official CDC, CDE, CCHS sites:

Free tech resources:

For Students:

  • Khan Academy - free lessons & quizzes by grade level & subject. Computer programming & reading too!
    • Espanol - Para cada alumno, cada salón de clases. Resultados reales. 
  • Shared by OGMS counselors:

  

For Parents/Teachers:

How To Talk Guides:

Anti-Racism & Coronavirus:

Family Emergency Preparedness:

  • Desarrollar un Plan Familiar - click "Select Language" at top for translation to 100 languages
Add your reaction Share

Parent COVID19 Resources

Dear Parents, Caregivers, & Community,

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District school board is meeting at 2pm today to discuss details & logistics of the school closure.

In the meantime, here are a few resources I've compiled so far that might be useful for you beyond the official CDC, CDE, CCHS sites:

Free resources:

Education companies offering Free subscriptions

Seattle parent list of online & offline resources/ideas

Free Internet & Wifi for 2 months from Comcast

Free ZOOM videoconferencing for school & student email addresses

 

How To Talk Guides:

Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource

How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus: Keeping your own anxiety in check is key

● New York Times Article on talking with teens about the virus

COVID19 Facts InfographicCOVID19 Espanol

 

Anti-Racism & Coronavirus:

● COVID19 Anti-Stigma Toolkit for social media

Teaching Tolerance Guide to speaking about racism & coronavirus

 

For Students:

● MDUSD Student Portal 

BrainPop video & quiz on What is Coronavirus 

● A comic-edition piece & radio from NPR that focuses on the COVID-19 topic

 

Family Emergency Preparedness:

Develop a Family Disaster Plan - California Department of Public Health

  • Desarrollar un Plan Familiar - click "Select Language" at top for translation to 100 languages

Add your reaction Share

African American History Awareness & Resources

Thank you to all staff, teachers, parents, and students who promoted African American Awareness month as an integral part of our history and cultural identity during the month of February! Here are a few of the inspirational events, recognition and resources that I was fortunate to see.  I want to share these out and remind everyone that though the awareness month of February has ended, African American history is something that we should all be incorporating into our lessons and activities all year long:

  • Concord student wins Humanitarian of the Year!
  • HBCU fair
  • Dr Carrie Frazier, Ruah Community Outreach
  • MDUSD Parents for Multicultural Education
  • Resources on Equity & Diversity
  • East County NAACP Membership & Scholarship Gala

Contra Costa Humanitarian of the Year – Christina Mazzi

Did you know that a student from MDUSD’s Concord High won a countywide recognition of her work?  Yes!  Christina Mazzi is a senior at Concord High who decided to build a more positive culture on Instagram by featuring successful women of color.  Visit ProjectWOC to be inspired by women of color athletes, academics, artists, and more. https://www.instagram.com/projectwoc/

Not only that, she was named a 2018 Buck Scholar and has won a scholarship from Chevron.  "In my 10 years working at Concord High School Christine is the first student that has left me speechless when I think of all that she has accomplished and how she is changing lives for women of color; I can honestly say that I have never worked with a more selfless teenager than Christine," said School Counselor Becky Heindlel.

 

HBCU Fair

Thanks to Brian Brown, college and career counselor at Mt Diablo High, our school district hosted the HBCU (historically black colleges & universities) Fair for the 2nd year in a row at Mt Diablo High.  Students from all over our district attended, and over $2 million in scholarships were awarded on the spot. 

 

Dr. Carrie Frazier, Ruah Community Outreach 

Ruáh Community Outreach is a non-profit, community service organization founded by Dr. Carrie Frazier. https://www.ruahoutreach.com/

Dr. Frazier has been bringing her African American history exposition each year to Bel Air Elementary!  Here she is in action:

 

MDUSD Parents for Multicultural Education

Students and parents at Valhalla Elementary took the initiative to celebrate Black History Month by putting up posters around the school, and from there it grew into a full on event on Feb 28th including activities, inventions, books & book marks!  I recently met parents Cri and Michelle, who started a Facebook page to share out resources and ideas to all families, teachers and staff in Mt Diablo schools.  Follow them here: https://www.facebook.com/multiculturalparents/

  

 

and here’s a resource list provided by them for teachers & parents:

Black Lives Matter at School

https://blacklivesmatteratschool.com/classroom-resources/

Zinned Project

https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/?cond%5B0%5D=themes_str:African+American&cond%5B1%5D=media_types_str:Teaching+Activities+(Free)&cond%5B2%5D=levels_str:Grades+3-5

Facing History

https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library?f%5B0%5D=fh_search_api_search_type%3Acontent&f%5B1%5D=multi_field_subject%3A837

https://www.facinghistory.org/educator-resources

POC Online Classroom

http://www.poconlineclassroom.com/blog/2018/2/7/black-history-month-resouces?rq=black%20history

Education Post

https://educationpost.org/if-we-really-want-to-teach-black-history-in-schools-were-going-to-need-more-diverse-books/

Gender Spectrum

https://www.genderspectrum.org/quick-links/books-and-media/

Raising Luminaries

https://booksforlittles.com/info/archives/

Embrace Race

https://www.embracerace.org/resources/action-guides

Teaching for Change

https://www.teachingforchange.org

Re-thinking Schools

https://www.rethinkingschools.org

Equity Literacy Institute

https://www.equityliteracy.org/educational-equity-resources

Race Conscious

http://www.raceconscious.org/2016/06/100-race-conscious-things-to-say-to-your-child-to-advance-racial-justice

 

Additional resources I find helpful

Build Culture, Conditions & Competence in Equity: National Equity Project

www.nationalequityproject.org

Teaching Tolerance – free resources to educators to help youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy

https://www.tolerance.org/

Resources for parents on how their choices impact school diversity:

https://integratedschools.org/resources/  

“How Students Benefit from Diversity,” by Jeremy Adam Smith:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_students_benefit_from_school_diversity

School to Prison Pipeline Reduction - Fact Sheets & Tools:

https://advancementproject.org/home/

 

Coming Soon: East County NAACP Membership & Scholarship Gala

Save the date for the NAACP Unity Gala, April 25th!  For information & tickets, email [email protected]

Please keep sharing your actions & resources with me and with each other!  Next up, Women's History Month.

Add your reaction Share

March 9th board mtg - budget reductions vote

Thank you to all who spoke at Monday's meeting or emailed us with your perspective on the budget reductions! The list is now being adjusted based on the Board direction that was given that night.

What's next?

Our School Board is meeting next Monday, March 9th at 7pm. You are welcome to attend, speak, or watch online. Agenda will be posted here: https://mdusd.org/agendasminutes

We will vote on:

1. a list of budget reductions by item type and cost, to add up to a total of $21.1 million
2. the final PKS list - this is the list of "particular kinds of service" - certificated positions that could be removed for the 2020-21 school year.

As was explained, our board MUST identify all $21.1 million in reductions before the county office of education will agree to approve our ratifying the Tentative Bargaining Agreement with our teachers union. 

Feel free to email the board and superintendent with your feedback, or speak at the board meeting. Together we'll prioritize as best we can for students!

What else can you do to help? 

Please call the governor and all state legislators who represent our district, to ask them to significantly increase funding for public education immediately.  Here is a phone list from the grassroots Contra Costa Coalition to Fund Education Now - bit.ly/FENWcallscript 

(follow CCCFEN on Twitter @cccfunded #FundCAEd )

Add your reaction Share

Budget Reductions mtg Monday March 2nd

Please note we added a Special Board meeting for this Monday, March 2nd at 6pm. You are welcome to attend, speak, or watch online.

Agenda is posted here: https://mdusd.org/agendasminutes

It includes:

1. a list of possible budget reductions by item and cost
2. a draft PKS list - this is the list of positions to receive pink slips

(What is a pink slip? the state of CA requires all certificated employees to receive a "pink slip" notification by March 15th. This tells the teacher/staff that his/her position "might" be lost due to reductions for next school year. It is not a final decision, as the state doesn't give their final budget until May, and then school districts vote on their final budget for 2020-21 in June)

Our districtwide budget reductions are targeted at $21.1 million for 2020-21. See the Budget Presentation and recommended list here, and feel free to email the board and superintendent with your feedback, or speak at the board meeting. 

You'll see on slide 15 that after additional administrative and departmental cuts, the remaining target is now $14.5 million.

Together we'll prioritize as best we can for students!

 

p.s. I was at a school board training on Friday, where I heard from so many other districts that are also needing to make massive cuts right now, and some are even consolidating schools. It was clear that this is truly a statewide issue of vastly underfunding public education.

What else can you do to help? Please call the governor and all state legislators who represent our district, to ask them to significantly increase funding for public education immediately.  

Here is a phone list from the grassroots Contra Costa Coalition to Fund Education Now - bit.ly/FENWcallscript 

(follow them on Twitter @cccfunded - Frustrated with cuts in your school district? Seeing them in nearby districts too? Enough is enough. Call the Governor TODAY plus every state legislator that represents MDUSD: bit.ly/FENWcallscript #FundCAEd )

Add your reaction Share

List of Possible Budget Reductions - coming soon

Dear community,

I've received hundreds of emails in the past few days asking us not to cut certain programs or positions. Please know that I have received and am reading each message in detail, but it will take time to reply to each one. Your perspectives are all so important and valuable to these heartbreaking decisions. Thank you for taking the time to speak up.

In the meantime, I want to be sure you know that at the Board meeting on Monday Feb 24th, the staff said they would provide 2 items by this Friday Feb 28th at 5pm:
1. a list of possible budget reductions by item and cost
2. a draft PKS list - this is the list of positions to receive pink slips, which our board is scheduled to vote on at our Monday March 2nd board meeting.

(What is a pink slip? the state of CA requires all certificated employees to receive a "pink slip" notification by March 15th. This tells the teacher/staff that his/her position "might" be lost due to reductions for next school year. It is not a final decision, as the state doesn't give their final budget until May, and then school districts vote on their final budget for 2020-21 in June)

Thanks to staff diligence, our budget reductions are now targeted at $21.1 million instead of $22 million. They continue to work to find any/all savings possible.

We added a Special Board meeting for this Monday, March 2nd at 6pm, specifically for budget and PKS decisions. You are welcome to attend, speak, or watch online. Agenda will be posted here: https://mdusd.org/agendasminutes

What else can you do to help? Please call the governor and all state legislators who represent our district, to ask them to significantly increase funding for public education immediately.  

From the grassroots Contra Costa Coalition to Fund Education Now (follow them on Twitter @cccfunded )

Frustrated with cuts in your school district? Seeing them in nearby districts too? Enough is enough. Call the Governor TODAY plus every state legislator that represents MDUSD: bit.ly/FENWcallscript #FundCAEd

Districts across CA are in the same boat, reducing budgets and cutting positions and programs that are crucial and valuable, but that simply are unaffordable when the state funds districts at significantly less than the expectations and obligations it sets for us.

Add your reaction Share

Feb 2020

Did you see that MDUSD is looking at approximately $22 million in necessary budget cuts?

Here are details and actions you can take:

1. Community Input on Budget - attend final meetings TONIGHT

2. Fund Ed Now - call the Governor

3. African American Awareness Month - share your actions & photos

4. Superintendent letters & Next School Board meeting

 

Community Input for Budget Decisions

Attend meetings TONIGHT! 
Thursday, February 20th - 5:30 pm Riverview Middle School Multi Use Room
Thursday, February 20th - 7 pm Pleasant Hill Middle School Multi Use Room

Visit https://mdusd.org/budgetsolutions for details, presentations, surveys and more.

Can't attend in person? You can still give your ideas online in English or Spanish at bit.ly/mdusdfeedback

Fund Education Now

Fund Education Now Week is over, but our advocacy has just begun. This week, take 5 minutes to call the governor & our local state legislators.

  • --> Call to say that MDUSD is right now needing to make $22 million in cuts due to years of state under-funding of public schools. A Stanford 2018 study showed that to simply fund a basic level of adequacy for CA public schools, there should have been an additional $25 billion of state investment.  For MDUSD that would be an additional $150 million!  If the state even invested one quarter of that, we could keep and grow opportunity for our students. Urge the state for #FullandFairFunding of public schools. 
    • Governor Newsom (916)445-2841
    • Asm Tim Grayson (916)319-2014
    • Asm Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (916)319-2016
    • Sen Steve Glazer (916)651-4007
    • Bill Dodd (916)651-4003

Stay involved!

  • Follow @CCCFundEd and @MtDiabloUSD on Twitter
  • Visit www.cocoschools.org/cccfunded 
  • --> Share your story on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram about what significant cuts could mean for your classroom or school, and copy/paste these tags: @GavinNewsom @BauerKahan @AsmGrayson @Steve_Glazer @BillDoddCA @CCCFundEd #FundCAed

African American Awareness Month

The school board passed a resolution on January 27th in recognition of February as African American Awareness month.  This includes encouraging all schools to "commemorate the occasion with appropriate instructional materials.  My next blog will feature a compilation of student, parent, teacher and staff actions in Mt Diablo schools for African American Awareness month. 

Do you have a photo or story to share? Please send it to me and I'll include it!

Superintendent’s Friday Letter

Read Superintendent Dr Martinez’s February 14th letter here, including celebration of Silverwood Elementary's Distinguished School Award, and the following Mt Diablo winners from Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) Region 6: 

  • Classified Leader - Dominic Machi
  • Adult Education Administrator - Cynthia Paige Endo
  • Special Education Administrator - Jenny Vargas

These are always posted at mdusd.org and on Facebook & Twitter.  To receive them as emails, write to [email protected] to request to be added to the Superintendent’s email list.

Next School Board meeting February 24th

Budget discussion will continue, including data & results from surveys & meetings.  Visit https://mdusd.org/agendasminutes to see the agenda when it is posted, and all meeting agendas & videos.

Thank you to all who are participating!

Sincerely,

   

p.s. OGMS 8th grade students organized a successful Community Immigration Fair this month! 

1 reaction Share

Tough Budget Decisions

Did you miss yesterday's MDUSD school board special budget meeting?

It was chock full of information and a road map for tough decision ahead.  Here's a summary with links to how you can get involved.

1. Schools & Communities First Initiative

2. Community Input on Budget - answer online survey this week

3. Fund Ed Now Week - post your story on social media 

4. Mt Diablo Community Against Vaping - join this new Facebook group

5. Superintendent letters & Next School Board meeting

School Board endorses Schools & Communities First ballot initiative

We began the meeting by unanimously passing a resolution endorsing Schools and Communities First Initiative, which is gathering signatures now for the November ballot. We join a long list of supporters including CTA, MDEA, and national PTA. Learn more & get involved at www.schoolsandcommunitiesfirst.org

Next, CBO Lisa Gonzales gave an in depth report of state impacts on our finances.

Community Input Plan for Budget Decisions

District staff then laid out a full plan for community input & engagement around tough budget decisions. See the new Budget Solutions district webpage at https://mdusd.org/budgetsolutions for details and please

--> fill out a quick online budget survey there in English or Spanish, open until this Friday Feb 7th, 5pm.***

That page also links to https://mdusd.org/communityforuminvitations - in person opportunities for you to give input. In addition to presentations at existing committee meetings, the community and staff are invited to the following meetings:

Tuesday, February 18th - 7 pm Ygnacio Valley High School Multi Use Room
Thursday, February 20th - 5:30 pm Riverview Middle School Multi Use Room
Thursday, February 20th - 7 pm Pleasant Hill Middle School Multi Use Room

Thank you all for sharing your perspective online, in person, in English or Spanish or other translation as needed. Please share this out and bring your friends/colleagues to the table too. The more voices involved, the better decisions we can make.

(p.s. Yesterday's budget mtg is online. Watch video, see agenda here: https://mdusd.org/agendasminutes)

Fund Education Now Week Feb 3-7, 2020

This week is Fund Education Now Week!  Join parents, students, teachers, superintendents, school board members in Contra Costa and Alameda counties - the more voices the better - in contacting our state legislators and the governor.

Join us!

  • Follow @CCCFundEd and @MtDiabloUSD on Twitter
  • Visit www.cocoschools.org/cccfunded 
  • --> Share your story about what education funding looks like in your classroom or school on any social media, and copy/paste these tags: @GavinNewsom @BauerKahan @AsmGrayson @Steve_Glazer @BillDoddCA @CCCFundEd #FundCAed

 

In other news...

Mt Diablo Anti-Vaping Group Forming

Also last night, Monument Youth Alcohol & Drug Coalition (MYADC) presented at YV High PTSA meeting about a new group forming to help parents, students & community encourage cities within Mt Diablo school district to ban the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping devices. 

--> Join their Facebook group here:  Mt Diablo Community Against Vaping.

Learn how to contact city council members and speak at meetings to encourage them to take action as soon as possible for the health of our youth in Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Clayton, Pittsburg and Martinez .

The FDA, CDC, and California Department of Public Health have issued health alerts urging everyone to quit vaping altogether, no matter the substance or source.

Superintendent’s Friday Letter

Read Superintendent Dr Martinez’s January 31st letter here. It includes resources to prevent Human Trafficking that you can bring to your school.

These are always posted at mdusd.org and on Facebook & Twitter.  To receive these as emails, send a message to [email protected] to request to be added to the Superintendent’s email list.

Next School Board meeting February 10th

District staff will present results of this week's budget survey.  Visit https://mdusd.org/agendasminutes to see the agenda when it is posted, and all meeting agendas & videos.

As always, share your ideas with our board via email or attend and speak at our board meetings.

Sincerely,

   

Community leaders & partners are so important in this work for our students!  

Here I am with my EmergeCA sister Tiffanee Jones, who shared her powerful story at the 32nd District PTA Gun Violence Prevention Forum.

And Antioch Council member Monica Wilson hosted #RedSandProjectAntioch to raise awareness for Human Trafficking. You can bring this hands on project to your school to protect even more kids.

Add your reaction Share