Congratulations to all of our MDUSD 2020 graduates! Despite the extreme challenges of fires and worldwide pandemic, you have made it! And this experience gives you a unique perspective to create a safer, healthier world for all. I was honored to attend and record a speech for both the YV High and Olympic High ceremonies, and it was such pure joy to see the smiles and whoops of triumph from graduates and their families.
This week we also held our first ever raising of the Pride flag at the Mt Diablo Unified School District office, and the flag will fly for the month of June. Thank you to my fellow board members for allowing me the honor of raising it with YV High’s GSA president Bianca Solomon. As a board we all wholeheartedly supported this resolution with a 5-0 vote on May 28th.
In the meantime, the business of the school district marches on. I hope that you have seen the two key messages this week from the Superintendent’s Office:
- MDUSD Takes a Stand for Equity – this includes 2 action items the Board will vote on at our June 8th board meeting:
- Friday letter – this includes photos from the raising of the Pride flag along with this link to LGBTQIA+ & gender identity services, as well as information about free summer meals, how to join task forces for fall planning, and more.
School Board meeting June 8th
Here is the agenda for tomorrow’s school board meeting. This agenda includes a vote on the Equity resolution and board policy mentioned above, a vote on the PARS retirement plan, a presentation on the task force planning for fall, 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 4pm 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.
Happy summer and stay safe, everyone!
On this #BlackoutTuesday we recognize the urgent need for justice in particular for African Americans in our country. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery are the most recent examples of the horrific violence that people of color experience, here in the “land of the free”. All of us must become a part of the solution to end the violence and hatred.
In times like this, I reflect on how to hold myself accountable for actions and not just talk. I have requested this Equity Board Policy be added to our school board agenda for the June 8th meeting, and district staff are preparing additional actions. My family is holding a bookclub & discussion today on the book Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. There is so much more to do.
I want to take a minute here though to elevate the voices and actions of some of our MDUSD principals, parents and teachers:
- From Principal Moss, ShoreAcres Elementary School:
- “Our school community will continue to be committed to equality, diversity, and inclusion to ensure all families feel welcomed and supported. Please reach out if you need support.”
- “Nuestra communidad escolar está compremetida con la equidad, la diversidad, y la inclusion para asegurar que todos las familias se seitan bienvenidas y apoyadas. Por favor, pongase en contacto si cree que necesita apoyo.”
- If you are looking for ways to talk to your child about the current events, here are some resources: English https://centerracialjustice.org/resources/resources-for-talking-about-race-racism-and-racialized-violence-with-kids/
- Si está buscando maneras de hablar con su hijo acerca de los eventos actuales, estos son algunos recursos: Español https://www.healthychildren.org/Spanish/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Building-Resilience/Paginas/talking-to-children-about-racial-bias.aspx
- From Principal DeMartini of El Monte Elementary School: “Our @elmontebulldogs staff compiled a list of resources for talking to kids about racism. Please feel free to use them with your students or children (and give us feedback on what we can add)”
- From teacher Bryan Shaw, YV High: “I’ve had a lot of @YgnacioValley students email me or DM about what’s going on in our nation today. You should sign up for our ethnic studies course. This is our curriculum. You’ll love it. I’d be honored if you signed up.”
- From MDUSD Parents for Multicultural Education: If you have a child (or teach children) aged 4-9 we highly recommend the children's book Something Happened in Our Town. It's a story about racial injustice that covers a lot in less than 40 pages. It was published by the American Psychological Association in 2018 and covers police shootings from the perspective of a White family and an African American family.
- from Teaching Tolerance - Teaching about Race, Racism, and Police Violence
- from CALSA: Ethnic Studies Protecting our Youth with Policy & Practice
And for students:
- a message for those who want “to channel their energy into concrete action”: How to Make this Moment a Turning Point for Real Change, by Barack Obama
Please keep sharing YOUR ideas for actions that we all can take to truly create schools and communities that are safe, welcoming, and inclusive for all.
Happy Classified Employee Appreciation Week!
Many thanks to all of our hardworking classified employees who ensure students are fed, safe, and cared for every day through thick and thin. You are our heroes! An extra special shout out to Denise Ingham, who keeps excellent track of CSEA employees records to be able to truly support every single member of CSEA Mt Diablo 43.
News & helpful links:
- MDUSD School Board special meeting today
- SF Jazz for middle school students – starting today 4pm!
- Student Leader Academy by Ed100 statewide – FREE apply by June 6
- Immediate Resources
Special School Board meeting May 20th
There is a special school board meeting scheduled for today at 3pm. It is mainly a closed session for Superintendent Evaluation. Before it there will be an open meeting has just one agenda item on it, with approvals for the Pleasant Hill library project. That will be followed by the closed session meeting and brief report out. Visit https://mdusd.org/agendasminutes for all board agendas, links & videos.
SF Jazz Middle School Opportunity
SFJAZZ is proud to share a new webinar series that will give you a glimpse of what our Teaching Artists bring to our students in the Jazz in the Middle classroom. "The Breakdown" is a new webinar series that will feature select poets and musicians in conversation with our Director of Education, Rebeca Mauleón. These artists will delve into various topics related to our in-school curriculum and will perform live, demonstrating aspects of their craft in order to shed light on the topics of each lesson. Join us this Wednesday for our opening class - "From Jazz to Hip-Hop: Improvisation and Freestyling." There will be an opportunity for Q&A during the webinar, as well as activities provided that will help you continue exploring these topics on your own! Registration information is linked below, we hope to see you there!
~Lyle Link, SFJAZZ Lead Teaching Artist
From Jazz to Hip-Hop: Improvisation and Freestyling w/ Tammy Hall, Lyle Link, and Dan Wolf
Date: Wed, May 20, 2020
For: Middle school students, educators, and anyone interested in learning!
Format: This interactive webinar will be moderated by our Director of Education Rebeca Mauleón and will feature Jazz in the Middle Teaching Artists Tammy Hall (piano), Lyle Link (saxophone), and Dan Wolf (hip-hop artist).
Student Free Leadership Opportunity
Student Leaders: Apply by June 6. It's Free!
California's student leaders are essential — this year more than ever. So, it's time for something new: an online conference that prepares California high school student leaders with the knowledge and connections they need to make a difference. Free to apply. Free to attend.
Apply now and mark your calendar: July 20-23. We invite California's high school student leaders to join together at the Ed100 Online Academy for Student Leaders, a new virtual conference for students who in the coming school year will be serving:
- on a school site council or ELAC
- on their school board,
- on a PTA board or nonprofit school organization
- in other student led or student-focused organizations
Like Ed100.org, this conference is free. There is no cost to apply and there will be no cost to participate. Students who aren't yet in these roles but aspire to them may also apply.
P-EBT Food Assistance
Due to coronavirus (COVID 19), children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school can get extra food benefits. These food benefits are called Pandemic EBT or P-EBT benefits. Information here: English/Spanish
Disaster Relief Fund for Undocumented Californians / El Proyecto de Asistencia para Inmigrantes
CA is providing a one-time disaster relief assistance for undocumented Californians impacted by COVID-19, who are ineligible for most other forms of pandemic assistance, including direct assistance under the CARES Act and unemployment insurance.
Call ASAP to receive this help. It is given out starting May 18 until it runs out.
Un adulto indocumentado que califica puede recibir $500 en asistencia directa, con un máximo de $1000 en asistencia por hogar.
Solicitudes aceptadas por teléfono solo en 415-324-1011 para condado de contra costa. https://www.cceb.org/el-proyecto-de-asistencia-para-inmigrantes-afectados-por-la-pandemia-de-la-covid-19-drai/
An undocumented adult who qualifies can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1000 in assistance per household.
Applications accepted by phone only at 415-324-1011 for Contra Costa County. https://www.cceb.org/california-disaster-relief-assistance-for-immigrants-drai/
Guide for Immigrant Californians
The Guide for Immigrant Californians (PDF) will help you stay safe and informed.
The guide includes:
- Stay-at-home order considerations
- Ways to protect yourself and others
- Immigration help
- Public charge information for accessing public benefits
- Testing and treatment
- Information on jobs, wages, and benefits
- Small business support
- Food and bills
- Community safety
- Protection against scams and bad information
Guía para inmigrantes en California
La Guía para inmigrantes en California lo mantendrá informado y a salvo.
La guía incluye:
- Consideraciones de la orden de permanecer en casa
- Formas de protegerse a usted y a los demás
- Ayuda migratoria
- Información sobre la carga pública para acceder a beneficios públicos
- Pruebas y tratamiento
- Información sobre empleos, salarios y beneficios
- Apoyo a pequeñas empresas
- Alimentos y facturas
- Seguridad comunitaria
- Protección contra estafas e información incorrecta
Contra Costa COVID19 Resources for Undocumented Immigrants
P.s. Sharing this excellent wellness page from YVHS. Be well everyone: https://sites.google.com/view/yvhswellnesscenter
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week, and “may the 4th be with you”!
These are really tough times, and thank goodness that our teachers are even tougher. The energy, creativity, ability to pivot to learn and teach in new ways quickly... I'm inspired by so many of our amazing teachers in MDUSD. May you all stay healthy and safe through this pandemic.
One creative effort to break through barriers and get students connected now, was today's launch of the MDUSD Parking Lot Wifi plan, as described here in the Superintendent’s Friday Letter.
MDUSD Hosts 10 Wireless Internet Parking Lot Hot-Spots
Our passion and commitment is to serve you, and even in our five final weeks of the school year, we are pushing to increasingly meet the needs of our community—sometimes in creative ways. Please see our Parking Lot Wireless web page, which details our provision of internet at 10 school site parking lots district-wide. We are grateful to our diligent Technology and Information Services staff for these arrangements in addition to the thousands of devices distributed and affordable internet options secured. Any Mt. Diablo Unified School District device should be able to connect to the internet at these locations. While we ask that you maintain social and physical distance while doing so, we hope that more students are able to connect to their distance learning platforms.
His Superintendent’s Letter is chock full of important information, including about:
- Teachers of the Year
- School start dates
- MDEA Academy Awards event Thursday May 7th
- Budget challenges
- Town Hall Tuesday May 5th
And here are key announcements & resources I'd like to highlight:
- How to Get Involved this Week
- Teachers of the Year
- Next School Board meeting May 11th
- Updated resources for Food, Remote Learning, College Access
How to Get Involved this Week
There are 4 key ways you can engage with MDUSD this week: Town Hall Tuesday, PAC mtg Wednesday, MDEA Academy Awards Celebration Thursday, and Equity meeting Friday.
- Town Hall at 3pm Tuesday will include details about special education services, graduation, & community resources. Zoom link here.
PAC meeting on Wednesday at 3pm is the Parent Advisory Committee, where usually at least one parent per school attends and reports back to their school.
- Two specific questions staff would like to ask our school community to consider prior to our meeting: What areas need more focus and/or attention in the MDUSD distance learning environment? How can the District best support you as you strive to support your children during this time of crisis? The link to the virtual meetings to be access through a phone or computer will be emailed the morning of May 6th. Contact Jennifer Sachs with any questions at [email protected].
- Celebrate at the MDEA 2020 Academy Awards! Thursday May 7th at 6pm. Congratulations to all MDEA 2020 Academy Awards nominees! This is an uplifting event that brings people together from across MDUSD to celebrate excellence. Don’t miss it!
- Equity Committee is meeting Friday 3-4:30pm. Contact Antonio Arguelles at [email protected] for details, agenda, and zoom link.
Teachers of the Year
The Mt. Diablo Unified School District is pleased to announce the five finalists for Teacher of the Year are:
- Dylan Bland– College Park High School, Selected MDUSD Teacher of the Year
- Beth Bremer– Wren Elementary, Selected MDUSD Teacher of the Year
- Tannaz Heaney– Finalist, Sequoia Elementary
- Laura Wilson– Finalist, Pleasant Hill Middle School
- Kathleen Strange– Finalist, College Park High School
The Mt. Diablo Unified School District will honor these recipients at the Regular Governing Board meeting to be held on May 11, 2020!
And here is a beautiful tribute to both selected Teachers of the Year, written by MDUSD teacher Emily Andrews:
CONGRATULATIONS to two INCREDIBLE teachers who pour their heart and soul into the profession and have been selected as Mt. Diablo Unified School District’s 2020 Teachers of the Year! We are so proud of you, Beth Miller Bremer and Dylan Bland!!!
What an accomplishment—our district has over 50 schools, it is one of the largest districts in the state of California, and we serve 36,000 students! Let’s learn a little bit about these two fabulous educators:
Beth Miller Bremer is a first grade teacher at Wren Avenue Elementary: School of the Arts and has been teaching in MDUSD for 10 years. She’s also a teacher liaison with the CARES after-school program and is the school’s webmaster. This is actually Beth’s second career—her first being in technology for a financial institution. Throughout her teaching career, Beth has led or participated in a number of projects. Yet, her greatest contribution to the profession is in the relationships she has built with her students and their families, her colleagues, and the community. Beth feels fortunate to have worked with so many talented and compassionate educators, as well as community members who are strong advocates for education. Their relationships and collaborative efforts toward common goals in education are enriching and give Beth hope and encouragement for the future.
Dylan Bland has taught science at College Park High School for 6 years. He teaches Biomedical Science, Biology: The Living Earth, and Earth Science. Dylan wouldn't be where he is today without the support of his insightful MDUSD colleagues, as every person he has worked with has brought their own unique expertise, knowledge, and professionalism to the table as educators. The part that Dylan loves most about his job is giving students the tools they need to take their natural curiosity to investigate science in a hands-on, inquiry-based way. He likes to keep his students active in the classroom, and put the learning in their hands. Dylan’s goal is to have his students leave his class as more scientifically literate citizens, and for them to take what they learn and apply it to the world around them.
Dylan and Beth will be addressing our MDUSD community on Thursday, May 7th at the eighth annual MDEA Academy Awards night virtually via WEBEX. They will also be honored by our Superintendent, Dr. Rob Martinez, and Board Members at the Governing Board Meeting on May 11th.
Next School Board meeting May 11th
The meeting will be livestreamed as usual. Public comments may be submitted by voicemail at (801) 228-0093 or by email at [email protected] Visit https://mdusd.org/agendasminutes for all board agendas, links & videos.
I always like to share whatever new resources I’ve come across. Here are the latest:
- Monument Crisis Center
- Remote Learning
- Coco Students Helping Students
- En Espanol – YouTube channel by teacher Blanca Vega from ShoreAcres
- Spanish/English family how-to videos
- College Fairs & AP Tests
- Black College Expo May 8th, 10am-3:30pm
- The *free* NAVIGATE 2020 Virtual Conference & College Fair May 4-6
- AP Test free online classes, timing, test features
MDUSD Meals – now Mon/Wed/Fri through June 3rd.
Monument Crisis Center – food for all
Coco Students Helping Students
This program matches up successful local teens to mentor any struggling students 1:1. They now have about 140 students participating! If you know of a student who could use support or a teen who wants to mentor, please email Rosie Reid at [email protected]. They’re especially seeking more bilingual mentors!
YouTube Tutorials En Espanol, from MDUSD ShoreAcres Teacher Blanca Vega
Remember her Zoom tutorial in Spanish? Now Ms Vega has even more helpful Spanish language videos about google classroom and reading bilingual books at her YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2xqVmcs_FvvmzOD9YignTQ
Spanish/English How-To Videos Chromebooks & Hotspots
From the CDE Digital Divide conversation - “My son made a youtube channel for our school with videos explaining how to set up a wifi hotspot and how to use the chromebooks we distributed as well as a number of other topics (in Spanish and English). Please feel free to share the channel with your students.” https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNQ4E6eWO0dKVtJs6Ja2pQQ
College Fairs & AP Tests
Virtual College Fair May 4-6
The *free* NAVIGATE 2020 Virtual Conference & College Fair will host three days of livestreamed expert presentations for students and families and a #college fair with interactive booths. Learn more and register here: https://bit.ly/3bJq2RS
Black College Expo May 8, 10am-3:30pm
AP Test Info
The College Board has answers to all your questions here https://apcoronavirusupdates.collegeboard.org/ including:
To be fair to all students, some of whom have lost more instructional time than others, the exam will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March.
Like many college-level exams, this year's AP Exams will be open book/open note.
Students will be able to take exams on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. They'll be able to either type and upload their responses or write responses by hand and submit a photo via their cell phone.
Exams will be given May 11–22. Each subject's exam will be taken on the same day at the same time, worldwide.
Makeup test dates will be available for each subject June 1–5.
Students can take the exam at home or in schools, if they reopen.
Happy Earth Day week!
This is a week of contemplation, both for how we can better protect our earth, but also how we can create a community that truly takes care of everyone. Ramadan Mubarak to those who celebrate - and fast - to understand hunger and remember our responsibilities to help anyone who is hungry or in need.
As you can read in the Superintendent's April 24th letter, MDUSD continues to build even more partnerships to ensure students & families are fed, at approximately 42,000 meals per week! The latest partnership is with County Connection buses that are driving meals from Bel Air Elementary out to families throughout Bay Point who cannot get to the site. That is equity focus in action.
And thank you to all who donated so far to the MDEDF Coronavirus Remote Learning Fund, which has raised $27,000 to date. Every dollar helps ensure every student has all technology needed to access remote learning now and in the future.
You'll find in this blog:
- Next School Board meeting - Monday, April 27
- WAVE Internet First offer
- Resources - equity & homelessness
- Highlights of the Week
Next School Board meeting - Monday, April 27th
The next School Board meeting is scheduled for this Monday, April 27th. Closed Session will begin at 5:00PM virtually.
Public comments received on Monday, 04/27/2020 by voicemail at (801) 228-0093 or by email at [email protected] will be entered into the public record.
Agenda is available here. It is a very full agenda, including
- a budget update,
- update on Maintenance & Operations,
- voting on reductions to Classified employees for the 2020-21 school year,
- and under Superintendent's report there is a proposed re-organization of district leadership.
WAVE Internet First Offer:
WAVE has launched their free internet offer for low-income families, and they've assured me this will also be in Spanish by next week. It appears to have fewer barriers to families than other offers out there, as they require no contract, no credit card, no installation fees, and the first 60 days are free. After that it's $9.95 per month.
Please let me know if this or any of the offers at everyoneon.org are working to get any of our MDUSD families connected.
Resources - equity & homeless services:
- Equity - Thank you to MDUSD Parents for Multicultural Education for sharing this comprehensive list of equity resources from National Equity Project, which includes 7 distance learning equity consideration
- Homeless Services in Concord - Mayor Tim McGallian wrote this letter detailing city partnership efforts to provide housing, meals, domestic violence shelter, and sanitation to homeless residents throughout the city. If you know someone who needs help, dial 211 or see city homeless resources here. Donations are needed to support these efforts, so if you can please consider donating to the Concord Community Foundation fund here.
Highlights of the Week:
Congratulations to Mrs. Angela Beatty at ShoreAcres for winning student supplies for your class from DonorsChoose #KeepKidsLearning!
It has been such a joy to see our teachers focused on ensuring quality distance learning that includes hands-on, offline, student led inquiry, like these Ocean Ambassador projects from Pleasant Hill Middle School. Keep up the creativity, and Happy Earth Day!
And this drawbridge was built by a ShoreAcres 1st grader!
Here at home with my family, we continue to seek out inspiration and peace in nature, and hope that you are finding that too.
I hope that you are staying safe and healthy during this challenging time. Happy Dolores Huerta Day! Today is her 90th birthday, the California organizer who coined the phrase "Si Se Puede". We honor her as we work together for health & education for all! Check out her Foundation and curriculum here.
MDUSD continues to work hard to provide essential services. Did you see in the superintendent’s April 9th letter that the district’s Food and Nutrition Services Department has served over 41,600 meals in just sixteen days of operation? Plus they are now also working to provide over 80 meals each day to senior citizens in our community, through a partnership with the City of Concord and Meals on Wheels.
And, as a District we have deployed over 5,000 devices to students. One measurement indicated that we have had close to 25,000 connections that have been made to our Google classrooms within a short amount of time. I’m so thankful for all the staff and teachers who have been working nonstop in this unprecedented time!
Here are 3 key announcements from MDUSD:
- School campuses closed through end of school year
- Next School Board meeting - Monday, April 13
- Watch the MDUSD Town Halls
School campuses closed through end of school year
On April 7, 2020, Superintendent Dr. Rob Martinez communicated to the public confirming school closure for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year in conjunction with joint action from six bay area counties. The full message is available here.
Next School Board meeting - Monday, April 13
The next School Board meeting is scheduled for this Monday, April 13th. The meeting will be livestreamed to the public here: https://vimeo.com/405941539. The public may submit verbal information during Board Meeting hours by email at [email protected].
Agenda is available here. It is a very full agenda, including information about Distance Learning, Board policy revisions for grades and promotion, and reductions to Classified employees for the 2020-21 school year.
Visit https://mdusd.org/agendasminutes for all board agendas & videos.
Did you watch the MDUSD Town Halls?
This is a new format to share important details from the district to the community. Watch the first two at http://mdusd.org/townhall, and that’s also where to look for the next one to tune in and participate. The second Town Hall included translation into Spanish as well.
Also in this message I’ve collected some additional resources for you here:
- Monument Crisis Center
- Remote Learning
- Coco Students Helping Students
- Where to find free internet & cell data – CDE complete list
- En Espanol – Zoom tutorial by teacher Blanca Vega from ShoreAcres
- Yours Humanly Distance Learning tools & content
- Community Resources
- Monument Impact Resource Guide in English y Espanol
- Are you storing your guns safely?
- Career Girls - epidemiologist
- Crisis Help Lines
MDUSD Meals – now Mon/Wed/Fri
Monument Crisis Center – food for all
2. REMOTE LEARNING
- CoCo Students Helping Students
Did you know MDUSD students are taking a leadership role in remote learning?
Here’s a message from Rosie Reid, an MDUSD teacher at Northgate High who was also National Teacher of the Year:
“The school closures caused by COVID-19 have been quite a challenge for so many of us. For some, this challenge has been dealing with feelings of isolation and sadness. Others have struggled with maintaining a sense of normalcy and motivation. Many are having a hard time learning on their own and keeping up with their schoolwork. To remedy this, I have set up a free student-to-student mentoring match-up program. How it works is simple: Students who want to mentor/tutor other kids email me and tell me what classes they have taken and gotten at least a “B” in. Students (or parents of students) who need help or want to connect email me and I match them up. From there, they schedule appointments that meet both of their needs. Some mentor/mentee pairs meet daily, others every other day, and others a couple of times a week via Zoom, Skype, Facetime, or phone. Currently, we have 60 student pairs with students from several school districts participating at the elementary, middle, and high school level. If you know of a teen who could use support or a teen who wants to mentor, please email me at [email protected]. “ -- Rosie Reid, Northgate High School
- Where to Find Free Internet & Data
Here is a comprehensive list that will be updated, from CA Dept of Education: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/availableinternetplans.asp
- En Espanol, Zoom Tutorial de MDUSD ShoreAcres Teacher Blanca Vega
Buenas tardes! Para aquellos que quieran practicar cómo meterse a una videoconferencia en zoom, aqui está un titorian que hice en español. Muy sencillo, solo para poder entrar! Pueden encontrarlo también en mi canal de YouTube https://youtu.be/AhxnpiYGZDM @MtDiabloUSD @ShoreAcresMDUSD
- Yours Humanly Distance Learning List of Tools & Content
“Our relationships with aid organizations, government agencies, school districts, teacher associations, and parent clubs have allowed us to compile a far reaching list of tools and resources that will help our communities cope with the unprecedented challenges and overcome the major obstacles we are facing.
Our hope is to curate some of the best ideas, strategies, reports, and online resources for the benefit of all, presented in one easy-to-navigate space. This initial resource list focuses on distance learning and strategies in light of shelter in place and social distancing.
3. Community Resources
- Monument Impact Resource Guide in English y Espanol
They created a resource guide that organizes the available services and resources in Contra Costa county, from food distribution programs to unemployment insurance. Updated daily!
- Safe Gun Storage
Thank you to Mt Diablo Chapter of Moms Demand Action, for bringing this to our attention. Did you know that in California, it is a crime for a person to negligently store or leave a loaded firearm in a place where a child is likely to access it.
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond stated in a recent letter, “District and school administrators must help educate parents and guardians about California’s child access prevention laws; it is a crime for a person to negligently store or leave a loaded firearm in a place where a child is likely to access it.”
Child access to guns and actual or potential gun violence is occurring in our immediate community. In January, a neighboring high school, Las Lomas experienced a lockdown when an at-risk student brought a loaded gun to school with alleged intent to harm himself or others. An Antioch High School student was shot and killed this year after a school sporting event. More recently, gun sales amid the Corona virus outbreak have spiked. According to Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, "This spike in gun sales is deeply concerning, particularly for the millions of children unexpectedly at home with unsecured guns, women sheltering in place with abusers, and anyone struggling economically and psychologically."
The following national, state and regional organizations advocate for education on gun violence prevention:
American Academy of Pediatrics American Federation of Teachers
California Attorney General California Department of Education
Contra Costa County Probation Dept. Contra Costa County Dept of Education
Contra Costa County District Attorney National Education Association
- Career Girls
Career Girls is founded on the dream that every girl around the world has access to diverse and accomplished women role models — to learn from their experiences and to discover their own path to empowerment. CareerGirls.org is a comprehensive video-based career exploration tool for girls. It’s free to use, and, as important, it's free of ads. They have the largest online collection of career guidance videos focusing exclusively on diverse and accomplished women — over 130 of whom are in STEM fields — and add to it weekly.
Their Epidemiologist Career Page can encourage the next generation of disease detectives. Also, consider sharing their free Career Girls Toolkits with the parents, educators and mentors you know who need help keeping their kids engaged during this social distancing, shelter at home period.
- Crisis Help Lines
Crisis Text Line Text MHA to 741741 and be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line provides free, text-based support 24/7
Disaster Health Helpline Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) provides crisis counseling and support for anyone in the U.S. experiencing distress or other behavioral health concerns related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including public health emergencies
Teen Line Call (310) 855-4673 or Text TEEN to 839863 to be connected to peers to offer support and education
Trevor Project Call (866) 488 -7386 or text START to 678678. A national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth
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:
- Superintendent Friday Letter
- Monument Crisis Center – how to donate or receive food
- MYDAC update on vaping, smoking information & resources
- College Board Scholarships & free SAT practice
- 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:
- an article from the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco: Reduce your risk of serious lung disease caused by coronavirus by quitting smoking and vaping.
- an analysis of factors associated with disease outcomes in hospitalized patients with novel coronavirus disease(check out the odds of disease progression (including to death) among people with a history of smoking)
In case you aren't, please follow us on Facebook and join our Mt. Diablo Community Against Vaping Facebook Group.
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!
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:
- Free Meals App
- Free Groceries
- Free Tutoring & AP Resources
- COVID resources for Undocumented communities
- Tools for Special Needs & Struggling Students
- 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:
- Free AP review courses, support, & possible at-home testing
- Free online tutoring for ages 5-18 at GoPeer.org, from university students including MDUSD alumni who are now at Cal
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
- Reading Comprehension
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:
- Check out these Tools to Bring Calm & Connection during Chaos, from MDUSD parent & school psychologist Katie Raher - https://www.constantloveandlearning.com/coping-tools
- 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!
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!
Free tech resources:
- Education companies offering Free subscriptions
- List of Companies providing Free Internet & Unlimited Data
- Free ZOOM videoconferencing for school & student email addresses
- MDUSD Student Portal
Khan Academy - free lessons & quizzes by grade level & subject. Computer programming & reading too!
- Espanol - Para cada alumno, cada salón de clases. Resultados reales.
- A comic-edition piece& radio from NPR that focuses on the COVID-19 topic
- Shared by OGMS counselors:
- **MDUSD Parent Portal is now LIVE with Remote Learning resources!
- **MDUSD Teacher resources are now LIVE via the staff portal with Remote Learning resources!
- Google Classroom - tutorial for Teachers, guide for Parents
- article on How to Use Khan Academy for remote learning during school closure, including guide for parents or teachers
- ¿Cómo puedo utilizar Khan Academy para el aprendizaje a distancia durante el cierre de escuelas?
- Seattle parent list of online & offline resources/ideas
- Virtual Field Trips around the world
- Student High School Journal COVID assignment by YV High teacher Brian Shaw, Tarea de Diario Estudiantil durante Covid19
- UC Berkeley Professional Development for Teachers - Resource List
- Tech Blog by Karly Moura, MDUSD - google classroom & eLearning Choice Boards
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 Infographic, COVID19 Espanol
- Printable posters in Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, & more
- Mindfulness to help families manage anxiety around coronavirus
Anti-Racism & Coronavirus:
- COVID19 Anti-Stigma Toolkit for social media
- Teaching Tolerance Guide to speaking about racism & coronavirus
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
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 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
- Printable posters in Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, & more
Anti-Racism & Coronavirus:
● COVID19 Anti-Stigma Toolkit for social media
● MDUSD Student Portal
● 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