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Weekly COVID-19 Update: Friday, October 2, 2020

From: Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Date: October 2, 2020

All Coronavirus (COVID-19) SSPI Communications

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From State Superintendent Tony Thurmond

Dear School Communities and Partners:

I’ve often said that this year might be one of the most difficult we’ve ever faced, and I want to start off by expressing heartbreak over the loss of homes and life due to new and ongoing wildfires. We’re doing everything we can to help with immediate needs by sending masks, computing devices, and food and water to affected regions. And we have a webpage with resources for local educational agencies affected.

Many counties are coming off the most stringent tiers of the state’s COVID-19 framework, and that means that school reopening is the topic on everyone’s mind right now. We will continue to work with county superintendents and public health officials to monitor health and safety concerns and to make sure everyone has the support they need as they navigate these decisions.

In the meantime, we announced this week that we’ve made available more than 500,000 more computing devices for California students in need. We also announced the new Tools for Teachers website by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium with lessons and strategies to support instruction, save teachers time in developing quality lessons, and help students succeed.

I’m proud to announce that CDE will build on the success of this summer’s ethnic studies virtual classroom series by the launching of a second round of programming that will be broadcast live for thousands of students, families, and educators—and be provided to teachers across California as a package of online lessons that can be used in distance learning. As the nation is reckoning with its history of systemic racism, educators are seeking ways to make public school a place where students can gain a more complete understanding of the contributions and experiences of our country’s historically marginalized communities. More details coming soon.

Lastly, congratulations to California’s 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Your work closing achievement and opportunity gaps has been tremendous. Thank you for being a model of success that we can all look to.

Announcements & News Releases

LEA User Guide for Tracking Daily Participation and Engagement

The California Department of Education (CDE) is pleased to provide our local educational agencies (LEAs) with a newly updated and optional resource to assist schools with meeting statutory requirements for tracking daily participation and engagement.

The new user guide for LEAs can be found at and was developed in recent weeks in close collaboration with our partners at the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), the California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO), the California School Employees Association (CSEA), the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) and the California Teachers Association (CTA).

This new user guide is designed to provide LEAs a menu of options for tracking attendance and engagement. Most importantly, we hope this resource provides responsive solutions—and reduces some stress—at a time when educators need our support and flexibility.

Thank you to our educational partners for sharing the important stakeholder feedback that helped shape this resource. If you have any questions about the user guide, please contact

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Second Round of Ethnic Studies Virtual Series and Creation of Online Resources for Teachers in Distance Learning (October 2, 2020)

Supporting the Annual Directing Change Program Student Film Contest (October 1, 2020)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces “Tools for Teachers” Instructional Resources Website for California Educators (September 30, 2020)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces More Than 500,000 Additional Computing Devices Made Available to California Schools Amid Worldwide Technology Shortage (September 30, 2020)

Program Updates

English Learner Support Division

The English Learner Support Division (ELSD) is publishing two newsletters during the COVID-19 school closure: The Distance Learning Parent Newsletter and the English Learner (EL) Updates Newsletter. These newsletters are published monthly.

The September EL Updates Newsletter covers distance learning, assessment, the Educator Workforce Investment Grant, the State Seal of Biliteracy, curriculum, mental health, and webinars. The September Distance Learning Parent Newsletter focuses on resources for parents to help support social emotional learning.

To read the newsletters, go to the CDE EL Updates Newsletters web page at

Educator Workforce Investment Grant (EWIG): English Learner Roadmap (ELR) Implementation
The two EWIG ELR grantees, Californians Together (CalTog) and the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), are available to bring research-based strategies and resources to administrators and educators in order to dramatically accelerate and improve multilingual academic opportunities and outcomes for English learners across California. For more information about CABE’s Multilingual California Project (MCAP) ( and CalTog’s English Learner Roadmap Implementation for Systemic Excellence (EL RISE!) (, please visit the CDE Educator Workforce Investment Grant: EL Roadmap Policy Implementation web page at The Upcoming Webinars section below includes details on upcoming EL RISE! webinars.

Webinars - Recap and Upcoming

Webinar Recaps

Multilingual CA Project (MCAP) Fall 2020 Webinar Series
Part I: Designated ELD: Sentence Unpacking in Small Groups Promoting Equity for English Learners During Distance and Hybrid Instruction (September 23, 2020)

This session focused on distance learning teaching strategies for grades K–12 that can be implemented during Designated ELD to actively engage English learners in grade level core content instruction. (Recording coming soon)

EL RISE! Communities of Practice Webinar Series for Administrators (August 18; August 25; and September 29, 2020)

This three-part leadership webinar series is designed to address immediate needs of school leaders and administrators in opening schools with a focus on meeting the needs of English learners in distance learning. All webinars will be archived for asynchronous access. (Recording coming soon)

EL RISE! Meeting the Needs of English Learners in Distance Learning (September 2020)

This fall webinar series for kindergarten through grade six educators is designed to address the immediate needs of teachers in meeting the needs of English learners in distance or hybrid learning contexts. (Part III recording coming soon)

Part I: Welcoming, Affirming, and Inclusive Classrooms for English Learners

Webinar recording available at

Presentation slides available at

Part II: Critical Conditions for English Learners in Distance Learning

Webinar recording available at

Presentation slides available at

Upcoming Webinars:

Understanding & Recognizing Dyslexia for California Educators (Available through October 31, 2020)

In support of October's Dyslexia Awareness Month, CDE has extended our partnership with Glean Education to provide their online Understanding & Recognizing Dyslexia for California Educators for free to all California educators and administrators. The course will be available until October 31, 2020. To enroll, visit

This course was designed for all educators (general education and special education), so please spread the word to your colleagues about this professional development opportunity. Administrators, if you'd like your school or district staff to take this free training as a cohort, please contact Jessica at to arrange for a whole-staff training announcement.

If you have any questions, please email Richard Gifford at or Jen Buzolich at

Project Cal-STOP: Cost-Free Trainings to Promote Student Connectedness and Wellness (October 13, 2020, at 3 p.m.)

The CDE is partnering with Sandy Hook Promise to offer two of its Know the Signs Trainings to schools: 1) Start with Hello trains and empowers students to recognize social isolation and reach out for help; and 2) Say Something trains secondary students to look for warning signs and threats of harm in their peers, especially in social media, and speak to a trusted adult and get help. Each training will be delivered virtually and lasts 45 minutes.

The CDE also offers Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training to equip school staff who do not have a mental health background with tools to identify, reach out, and refer students with emotional distress or in a mental health crisis. The YMHFA training will be delivered virtually.

Please join us for a 45-minute informational webinar on October 13, 2020, at 3 p.m. to learn how your school can receive these free trainings for students and staff to increase student connectedness, identify warning signs, and provide initial supports. You may register for this webinar at

More info about Project Cal-STOP is available on the CDE Project Cal-STOP web page at

SEL Distance Learning Webinar #4: Engaging Youth and Building Life Skills (October 5, 2020, at 4 p.m.)

Join us for the final webinar of the CDE Social and Emotional Distance Learning webinar series. This webinar will be geared toward students and youth. Expert speakers include Aaron Bryon, art teacher at Fresno County Office of Education and member of the State SEL Team, and Michael Gray, counselor in Long Beach Schools and a member of the State SEL Team.

Register at

Recordings of the all of the SEL Distance Learning webinars will be posted on the CDE Social and Emotional Support in Distance Learning web page at

Multilingual CA Project (MCAP) Fall 2020 Webinar Series
Part II: Promoting Oracy in Spanish Instruction (October 7, 2020, 3:15-4:00 p.m.)

This session, conducted fully in Spanish, will focus on oral language development in a dual language classroom. This session will promote the strategic use of academic language in the classroom.

Registration: To register for this webinar series, visit the link at

Questions:   California Department of Education |
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, October 6, 2020
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