December 2021 update

This is my last week as President of the Mt Diablo School Board, and the annual board reorganization will occur at our December 8th meeting. I am so appreciative of my fellow board members and Superintendent Clark, for their willingness to work as a team on the shared vision of providing excellent education to all students. And we are all deeply thankful to every teacher, admin, and staff member who give so much every day to make this vision a reality, even through the struggles of a global pandemic.

Last week I attended the state school board association conference, where I enjoyed celebrating our Holbrook Language Academy with Principal Rubio, teacher Karen Hernandez, and Superintendent Clark!   MDUSD was awarded a Golden Apple Award in recognition of the excellent educational opportunities provided to students districtwide by this two way dual language immersion school. 

The conference had excellent speakers, including a panel of student board members, as well as Dr. Victor Rios who spoke on equity and promoting prosperity for at-promise students.  I was also very impressed by a workshop on mental health for teachers/staff/students featuring the Stanslaus County Office of Education Lifeguard Initiative and the CareSolace solution that “calms the chaos of mental healthcare”.

Read on for:

  1. School Board meeting December 8th
  2. Superintendent’s message
  3. SMART - secure guns to keep youth safe
  4. Free Hour of Robot Activities for CSEdWeek
  5. Congratulations, La Clinica!

School Board Meeting December 8, 2021

Our board meeting will be at Monte Gardens Elementary. The agenda has a lot of important items including: 

  • Appointment of Vice Principal to Bel Air and Rio Vista Elementary
  • Staff Presentation on TUPE - Tobacco Use Prevention Education Support for Students
  • Progress report on District Strategy Technology Plan
  • Fiscal Health Progress Monitoring report
  • Board reorganization with election of new President and Vice President
  • review School Plans for Student Achievement - find your school plan here
  • Approval of First Interim Financial Report - read finance update here 
  • review of draft calendars for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years
  • update to the District's Suicide Prevention Policy

Find details here. You may send a public comment via email to [email protected] or come in person to make a Public Comment during the meeting.  

Superintendent’s Message

Read Dr Clark’s December 3rd Friday message here, including: 

  • information about the Golden Bell Award received by MDUSD for the Holbrook Language Academy;
  • the District's budget to be discussed at the Dec. 8 School Board meeting;
  • School News including art activities at several elementary schools, a robotics club at Ygnacio Valley High, and the Adult Education Annual Open House and Art Sale;
  • the Concord tree lighting featuring two District school groups, and Concord youth commissioner openings;
  • a District reminder about the Homeless Outreach Program for Education (HOPE) holiday drive;
  • Student spotlights on two Northgate High students;
  • a Staff Spotlight on MDUSD's Food and Nutrition Services Director;
  • important dates; and
  • the Superintendent's Weekly Organizational update.

Be SMART - secure guns to keep youth safe

The recent school shooting tragedy in Michigan is another reminder that secure gun storage is essential to keeping our schools and communities safe. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond stated in a 2019 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.” reduces child gun deaths by encouraging responsible storage of guns and providing free gun locks.

  • Secure all guns
  • Model responsible behavior around guns
  • Ask about presence of unsecured guns in other homes
  • Recognize the risks of teen suicide
  • Tell your peers to be SMART


Free Hour of Robot Activities for CSEdWeek

Celebrate CSEdWeek with Hour of Robot!

Computer Science Education Week (December 6-10, 2021) is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field. Visit for resources & activities.

As part of CSEdWeek, the UC Davis C-STEM Center and its partners have put together a series of fun and engaging "Hour of Robot" activities that can be done using either on-screen virtual robots or hardware robots. The activities are divided into K-12 grade levels and do not require previous computing knowledge or experience. They're a great way to introduce students to computing and robotics, while also learning some math along the way, so be sure to check out the Hour of Robot home page!

  1. Anyone can organize an Hour of Robot event anywhere freely
  2. No experience needed
  3. Hardware robot is optional

Congratulations, La Clinica!

Senator Steve Glazer recognized La Clinica today as nonprofit of the year for region 7. I was happy to attend in appreciation of La Clinica and all they do to provide affordable, culturally appropriate healthcare in our community and schools. They have been a crucial part of making COVID testing and vaccines accessible to our students and families, both at their monument location and at our school sites. They also offer all kinds of healthcare and dental care and CoveredCA is located in their building to help make sure everyone can access health insurance too. Plus, they have volunteer and internship opportunities.  Be sure to share this excellent resource -


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Native American Heritage Month

Thank you to the Big Valley Pomo Dancers - a Riverview Middle School family who performed the opening ceremony at our last school board meeting! They help to remind us all as we recognize November as #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth that indigenous people are not only an important part of history, but also are alive and thriving here in our communities and schools today. Here is the video for those who missed it.

Don’t forget, the deadline to transfer secondary schools for next year is this Monday, Nov 15th. Visit to fill out the online form.

Here’s a brochure from Career Pathways that highlights specialties of various high schools that your student may want to consider and visit: English & Spanish

Also find details on the International Baccalaureate program at They recommend enrolling in YVHS for 9th grade, so eighth graders will need to apply for transfer to the school by Nov 15th if YV is not already their home school.

Read on for:

  1. School Board meeting November 10th
  2. Superintendent’s message
  3. free math & SAT tutoring online 
  4. Walnut Creek bans sale of vape & flavored tobacco  
  5. Donate to MDUSD HOPE by Dec 4th

School Board Meeting November 10, 2021

Our board meeting will be at Monte Gardens Elementary. The agenda will include: 

  • Appointment of a principal for Meadow Homes Elementary
  • Public hearing on granting easement to Contra Costa water district at Strandwood Elementary
  • Approval of revisions to Board Policy on Public Notice for Personnel Negotiations

Find details here. You may send a public comment via email to [email protected] or come in person to make a Public Comment during the meeting.  

Superintendent’s Message

Read Dr Clark’s November 5th Friday message here, including: YoursHumanly presents a check to MDUSD Education Foundation, HOPE Holiday Drive for homeless students, Concord High marching band flash mob, Counseling news, and the Superintendent's Weekly Organizational Update. Free Math & SAT Tutoring Online

I am thrilled to share this resource that I heard about at my college reunion last week, where Sal Khan came to speak! is a platform for free, peer-to-peer tutoring–where anyone, anywhere can receive live help, build their skills, and pay it forward by becoming a tutor themselves. 

It was created by Sal Khan (founder of Khan Academy) and his college friend, Shishir Mehrotra (co-founder and CEO of Coda). Now, reaches learners from over 100+ countries, and is proud to foster a vibrant community of over 500+ volunteer tutors and 3000+ learners. They’re driven by their mission to connect hundreds of thousands of more learners with safe, equitable opportunities to learn, teach, and grow.

**This week, they are introducing Live Help every weekday evening, 5-7pm PST. Bring questions and join tutors over Zoom for 1:1 help in math–from pre-algebra to calculus.**

Walnut Creek bans sale of vape & flavored tobacco

Great news! Last week the Walnut Creek City Council voted to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products and electronic smoking devices (vape). I spoke at the meeting in favor of it, reminding them that our MDUSD school board unanimously passed a resolution in January 2020 that requested all cities within our district enact a vape ban similar to the one that Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors passed in December 2019.  We will only be successful by working together to keep these dangerous products from being marketed to our youth.

A student from Foothill Middle school also spoke in favor of the ban, along with community members and the heart and lung associations. The city will start enforcing the ordinance in five months.

Donate to MDUSD HOPE by Dec 4th

The MDUSD Homeless Outreach Program for Education (HOPE)  is requesting donations for their holiday drive by December 4th. 

Mail or drop off gift cards to Mt. Diablo HOPE, 2730 Salvio Street, Room 24, Concord, CA 94519. Or donate via Venmo @MDUSDHOPE. 

They are asking for gift cards in the amount of $25 or $50 to give HOPE students from: Target, Walmart, Old Navy, GAP, generic prepaid credit cards, and gift cards to local restaurants. Please make sure the amount is clearly marked, so recipients know how much is available to spend.

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, senior activities/pictures, fines, clothing for interviews, prom, yearbooks, brief emergency shelter, and other needs as they may arise). 

Do you know a student who is experiencing an unstable living situation or "lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence"? Refer them to HOPE at , call 925-682-8000 x3054 or email [email protected] with questions. Thank you for sharing HOPE!

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Transfer applications

It’s been a busy few weeks, but wonderful to get outside and see students and staff engaging in high quality learning. I’m especially grateful to the Big Valley Pomo Dancers - Riverview middle school students and their family who asked to perform an opening ceremony at tomorrow night’s school board meeting in honor of Native American Heritage month.

Now is the time especially for 8th graders to explore the various high school options in our district!  Visit schools, ask about career pathways, academies and special programs. Reach out to me if you want to discuss. I’m happy to share the exciting options I’ve visited throughout our district.  For example, here’s a photo of teacher Tom Trowbridge at Concord High with the tiny house that his Construction Management students are building as they learn varied skills, from woodworking to plumbing and electrical.

Parents/Guardians of current 5th -11th graders may apply for transfers online at between October 15-November 15, 2021

Read on for:

  1. International Baccalaureate Parent Info Mtg TONIGHT

  2. School Board meeting October 27th

  3. Superintendent’s message

  4. CA Reading Coalition Summit & Resources

  5. News on K-12 enrollment “fiscal cliff”

  6. Districtwide Career Fair a Success!

International Baccalaureate Parent Info Mtg TONIGHT

Parents and guardians of students in grades 8-10 are invited to a virtual Information Meeting TONIGHT, Tuesday Oct 26 at 7pm, regarding the International Baccalaureate College Prep Programme at Ygnacio Valley HS for juniors and seniors. Intradistrict Transfers are available for the 2022-23 school year for any MDUSD student who lives outside the YVHS boundary area. (It’s recommended to transfer to YVHS for 9th grade if you are interested in the full diploma programme). The Intradistrict transfer deadline is Nov. 15. 

Read the district’s news story on IB here.

Click here to register for the zoom link for tonight’s 7pm informational meeting.

School Board Meeting October 27, 2021

Our board meeting will again be located at Monte Gardens Elementary to provide adequate space for the public. Find the agenda and details here. You may send a public comment via email to [email protected] or come in person to make a Public Comment during the meeting.  

The agenda will include 

  • Opening ceremony by Riverview native students and their family: the Big Valley Pomo Dancers

  • Resolution proclaiming November as Native American Heritage Awareness month

  • Reports on Measure C bond facilities projects, HOPE homeless student outreach, and sale of property for Pleasant Hill library site

  • Superintendent report on student assessments

  • Action to increase substitute teacher pay and to approve the Coordinated Care Early Intervening Services (CCEIS) plan regarding Disproportionality by race in Special Education

  • an update to the Board's Suicide Prevention policy

Superintendent’s Message

Read Dr Clark’s October 22nd Friday message here, including: MDUSD's Bridge Program for special education students ages 18 to 22, our condolences to the family of a Bay Point high school student who unexpectedly passed away last weekend, a new ADA pathway in an elementary school garden, a successful high school career fair last Wednesday, important upcoming dates, and the Superintendent's Weekly Organizational Update. 

CA Reading Coalition Summit & Resources

The CA Reading Coalition last week held a statewide summit on the science of reading. You can watch the recordings at and view their Reading Report Card at

This is a call to action for most of the school districts in the California, to carefully examine how we are teaching reading and what it will take to drastically improve student outcomes.  

Good news in our district - our last board meeting featured the MDUSD partnership with UCSF and Learning Ally on a dyslexia screener pilot program. Stay tuned for how you can volunteer to help!

News on K-12 enrollment “fiscal cliff”

This Edsource article, “Projected K-12 drops in enrollment pose immediate upheaval and decade-long challenge” explains one of the biggest challenges our district is facing right now, along with school districts throughout the state: a major drop in enrollment that will mean significant cuts in state funding - “a fiscal cliff” - beginning next school year.  This is one of the reasons why it is not easy for our board to approve salary raises for all staff. We must be able to clearly show where the money will come from for any salary raise, to afford it over the next 3 years, even though the state only commits to specific school funding one year at a time.  We all believe that our hard working teachers and employees deserve to be paid much more, yet we must ensure the district lives within its means. 

I recommend as a way to learn about our state education funding. This free site provides 5 minute lessons in English & Spanish, enables parents to comment and share with others from their school, and periodically win prizes. 

Districtwide Career Fair a Success!

Concord High hosted students from all over the district for a Career Fair last week. Thank you so much to all the Contra Costa Building Trades, fire, police, and companies who provided apprenticeship information and hands-on fun opportunities for students.

I enjoyed trying out the Operating Engineers diggers and the Ironworkers simulated welding. 

And yes, that’s Principal Pfaltzgraff climbing the IronWorkers pole!



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Indigenous Peoples Day

I hope you had a wonderful Indigenous People’s Day! I want to thank Board trustee Nzewi for sharing a land acknowledgement at our last board meeting, where we formally recognized Indigenous People’s Day.  Here is an excellent resource for lessons on indigenous history and culture. A big thank you also to our dedicated teachers and staff who spent yesterday working hard in teams to analyze their school student data and use that to design stronger opportunities for students.  

It’s also been so heartwarming to hear the many ways that our community has been welcoming new families from Afghanistan into our schools. Here is a list of Resources to Welcome Afghan students that I’ve heard about so far, and would be happy to add to this. Please share your stories with me, as together we can wrap our arms around these new families to make them feel as welcome as possible.

Community support for our schools is strong, and I’ve so enjoyed seeing so many of you in action from all over our district the last few weeks, at the Yours Humanly Break a Sweat for Education Run - see photos here, the Riverview Growing Healthy Kids Garden Open House, and the Walnut Creek Community Service Day. (more photos at the end)

#TogetherWeCan build positive, healthy schools & communities!

Read on for:

  1. Superintendent’s October 8th message
  2. School Board meeting October 13th
  3. Students Active on Voter Registration Day
  4. Advocacy for Electric School Buses
  5. More Photos of Community in Action

Superintendent’s Message

Read Dr Clark’s October 8th Friday message here, including:

  • MDUSD Education Foundation Annual Report
  • School Counselor SEL (Social Emotional Learning) newsletter in English & Spanish
  • TONIGHT - Dual Language Middle School Information Night - on Tuesday October 12, from 6 to 7 p.m. at Holbrook Language Academy , 3333 Ronald Way in Concord: This meeting will provide information about the Dual Language Middle School to parents of current 5th-graders participating in a Dual Language or Two Way Dual Immersion program in one of these schools: Meadow Homes, Cambridge, Ygnacio Valley, Bancroft, Shore Acres and Bel Air elementary schools. 
  • #WalkandRollToSchoolDay - thank you to all participating schools!
  • Hiring event Oct 21st - 5-8 p.m. at the District Office, 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord. 
    • We encourage candidates to apply online prior to the event and to bring college transcripts, if available. 
    • All Special Education Assistant Positions get a $1,500 hiring bonus. 
    • We're also looking for Substitute Teachers, Food Service Assistants, Custodial Substitutes, School Bus Drivers, Campus Supervisors and many other positions! 
    • Interviews will be conducted and job offers will be given to qualified candidates. TB Test required for all positions. Face coverings are required for all individuals entering the District Office building. 
    • Details about openings are at https://REBRAND.LY/MDUSDHIRINGFAIR. If you have questions, please call 925-682-8000. 
    • More information about becoming a substitute teacher in the District is here. This position offers a flexible schedule and competitive rates.

School Board Meeting October 13, 2021

Our board meeting will again be located at Monte Gardens Elementary to provide adequate space for the public. Find the agenda and details here

You may send a public comment via email: emails to [email protected] are automatically distributed to each board member, and will be entered into the public record when received on meeting days only. Or come in person to make a Public Comment during the meeting.  

The agenda will include 

  • Resolutions proclaiming October as Dyslexia Awareness Month, Disability Month, Anti-Bullying Awareness Month and Filipino American History Month
  • A resolution for Mt Diablo students to earn the State Seal of Civic Engagement 
  • Vice Principal and staff appointments. 
  • Reports on a recent bond refinancing, enrollment, fire service improvements, substitutes, Title 1 schools and schools eligible for Comprehensive Support and Improvement. 
  • A spending plan for federal emergency funding (ESSER)
  • Review of the CCEIS Plan for improving disproportionality in special education
  • Extending the superintendent's contract

Students Active on #NationalVoterRegistrationDay 

MDUSD students took the initiative to register fellow students to vote on Sept 28th, National Voter Registration Day. Shared on twitter were:

  • Ygnacio Valley High Democratic Club tabled and helped pre-register and register students!

  • And Northgate students invited @cocoelections to their school.  Contra Costa County Elections loves to help register students to vote, and will come out for free to any school if requested.

October resolutions

October is LGBTQ History Month

Oct. 10-16: Week of the School Administrator

Oct. 10-16: Final week of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)

Oct. 11-15: National School Lunch Week

Advocacy for Electric School Buses

Thank you Mt. Diablo Unified School District bus drivers Tim Ng and Barbara Harris, for taking time out of your busy day to share with Superintendent Dr Clark and me about the importance of electric school buses. Your story helps CALPIRG to advocate for federal funding to upgrade all old diesel school buses. The air is so much cleaner, and we save taxpayer dollars on maintenance and fuel at the same time.

We are glad to have a partial fleet of electric school buses in our district, but the federal government can choose to invest boldly now to get ALL diesel school buses off the streets nationwide. Watch the CALPIRG video here.

More Photos of Community in Action

Riverview Growing Healthy Kids Garden


Walnut Creek Community Service Day at Valle Verde and Walnut Acres Elementary



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