Teacher Appreciation Week 2020

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:

  1. How to Get Involved this Week
  2. Teachers of the Year
  3. Next School Board meeting May 11th
  4. 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.

New Resources

I always like to share whatever new resources I’ve come across.  Here are the latest:  

  1. Food
    • MDUSD
    • Monument Crisis Center
  2. Remote Learning
    • Coco Students Helping Students
    • En Espanol – YouTube channel by teacher Blanca Vega from ShoreAcres
    • Spanish/English family how-to videos
  3. 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


Remote Learning

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:

Exam Features

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.

Exam Timing

  • 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.

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