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Weekly COVID-19 Update: Friday, December 4, 2020

From: Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Date: December 4, 2020

All Coronavirus (COVID-19) SSPI Communications

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From State Superintendent Tony Thurmond

Dear School Communities and Partners:

This week, I had the opportunity to participate in an event that connected community and faith-based leaders External link opens in new window or tab. to discuss how we work together to advance racial equity in education. It was a stark reminder that even though historic inequities existed before the pandemic, our focus must grow even more urgent to address the numerous access and opportunity gaps that impact student learning. And I am proud of my team for the myriad ways they continue to lead on this front.

For example, this week the Governor released a new Master Plan for Early Learning and Care that is a roadmap for building a more equitable system at the earliest stages of a child’s development. Our practitioners at the California Department of Education (CDE) played a key role in helping develop the recommendations that, when implemented, we know can level the playing field, such as universal preschool and ending disproportionate suspensions of students of color in early care. We need to ensure that all of our students have access to resources and the tools that will help them succeed during school and after graduation.

I also want to recognize the impact our school classified employees have on educational equity. Classified employees are the backbone of our schools, and especially during this pandemic they have gone above and beyond to ensure that vital school services continue, that facilities are safe, that students are fed, and that children can connect to their learning. This week I had the honor of recognizing our 2020 Classified Employees of the Year, and I encourage you to watch the event External link opens in new window or tab. and hear these educators’ deeply moving, personal stories.

As California experiences a dramatic surge in COVID-19 infections, we will continue our focus on providing the supports needed to ensure learning continues and, where gaps persist, is improved.

Announcements & News Releases

#CASTEAM20 Keynote Speakers and Early Registration Prizes Announced! (December 3, 2020)

Model School Attendance Review Board Recognition Program 2020–21 (December 3, 2020)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Issues Statement Applauding Release of Master Plan for Early Learning and Care (December 1, 2020)

2021 United States Senate Youth Program (November 30, 2020)

School Guidance Remains Unchanged in Regional Stay-At-Home Order

On Thursday Governor Gavin Newsom announced a Regional Stay-At-Home Order External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF). The guidance External link opens in new window or tab. related to K-12 schools remains in effect and unchanged.

As set forth in Section 2(e) of the Order, when it takes effect in a region, schools that have previously reopened for in-person instruction may remain open, and schools may continue to bring students back for in-person instruction under the Elementary School Waiver Process External link opens in new window or tab. or Cohorting Guidance External link opens in new window or tab. .

Schools are still required to follow the Schools Guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which outlines requirements for safe conditions, testing, and tracing. Schools may be required to close if certain percentages of staff and students are diagnosed with COVID-19. All existing guidance applicable to schools can be found on the CDPH website at

Please visit the FAQs External link opens in new window or tab. that continue to be updated for more information.

Survey on School District’s Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

How is distance learning going in your district? What challenges have you experienced? The Public Policy Institute of California and the California Department of Education invite you to share your district’s experience by completing this survey at Your anonymous response will help inform policy recommendations.

Cal OES Launches Preparedness Ambassadors Curriculum
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), in partnership with the CDE, CalRecycle, and the Sacramento County Office of Education, has launched a statewide standards-based curriculum designed to engage fourth graders to develop and promote disaster preparedness guidelines for their homes, school, and local community. These free resources are available at

Program Updates

Educator Excellence and Equity Division
Resources to Help Prevent Suicide

Tragically, youth suicides are on the rise. We encourage districts to review their suicide prevention policies, protocols, and procedures and ensure mental health resources are widely shared with students, staff, and families. For guidance, see the CDE Model Suicide Prevention Policy on the CDE Youth Suicide Prevention web page at In addition, please review and share the following resources:

  • Help for Students in Crisis web page: This web page contains important hotlines, text lines, and resources for students who are having difficulty coping or just want to talk. It is important to communicate these lines are not only for crisis, they can be used by anyone who needs to talk, by parents/guardians who are concerned about their children, or anyone who is not sure how about behaviors they are seeing or experiencing.
  • LivingWorks Start Suicide Prevention Online Training: This 90-minute program is available to middle and high school staff and students and can be accessed from any computer, tablet, or smartphone with internet. It provides people with skills to recognize when someone is having thoughts of suicide and teaches how to approach and connect them with professional support.
  • AB 1767 Resource Guide for Elementary Schools (PDF)
  • The Statewide Suicide Postvention Response Team (SSPRT) was formed to support LEAs in navigating the journey after a youth or staff suicide. The primary goal of the SSPRT is to prevent contagion and also offer support and guidance to the LEA.
  • Teen Mental Health Guide Provides resources, information for taking care of their own and their friends’ mental health and 10 self-care strategies for teens
  • Teen Mental Health Guide in Spanish
Multilingual Support Division (formerly the English Learner Support Division)

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

The November Multilingual Updates Newsletter covers resources, assessment, data, early learning, funding, and webinars.

To read the newsletters, go to the CDE Multilingual 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 The Upcoming Webinars section below includes details on upcoming EL RISE! and MCAP webinars.

Special Education Division
Educator Workforce Investment Grant (EWIG): Special Education

The EWIG Special Education grantee, CAST, has created a video series on Universally Designing assessments in the virtual classroom and will release one video in the series every two weeks. The series also comes with a playbook that is available for free. For additional information on CAST, visit their website at

Information on the available videos is below:

Intro to Assessments

Why are assessments important? How can we improve assessments? What are some barriers or challenges in assessing student learning, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic? Four CAST assessment experts who will guide you through the answers to these questions and more so that we can better assess each student as an individual.

To watch this resource, visit the CAST YouTube video at

Evaluating Assessments

Ready to understand how assessments are designed? Want to know some of the fundamental components of assessments? In this second video in our assessment series, we help you develop strategies to effectively evaluate assessments to ensure they (1) accurately measure the intended learning goal and (2) measure what students really know and can do.

To watch this resource, please visit the CAST YouTube video at

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Aaron Christensen, Education Programs Consultant, Special Education Division at

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 is 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.

Webinar recording available at

Presentation slides available at

Part II: Promoting Oracy in Spanish Instruction (October 7, 2020)

This session is conducted fully in Spanish with a focus on oral language development in a dual-language classroom. This session will present a strategy that will promote the strategic use of academic language in the classroom.

Webinar recording available at

Presentation slides available at

Part III: How to Design Engaging ELD resources to Maximize EL Student and Parent Access (October 21, 2020)

This session showcases how to maximize English learner access and participation with free designated English language development distance learning resources.

Webinar recording available at

Presentation slides available at

Part IV: Supporting English Learners in the Rural Setting (November 4, 2020)

This session focuses on connecting with learners, learning, and language by providing resources for districts and schools located in rural areas of California. This session uses Considerations for Inclusivity and Support within Designated English Language Development in Remote Learning, a tool developed by statewide partners to highlight best practices.

Webinar recording available at

Presentation slides available at

Part V: Designated and Integrated SLD with GLAD® en Español Pictorial Input Chart (November 18, 2020)

This session will provide an overview of GLAD® en español. This session focuses on one key instructional strategy to support Spanish language development (SLD) and biliteracy within a dual language setting. This session explores application in a biliterate environment where the target language is Spanish. This session highlights how this strategy can be utilized with both designated and integrated SLD. This session was conducted in both Spanish and English.

Webinar recording available at

Presentation slides coming soon

Part VI: Using an Equity Lens for Writing Instruction (December 2, 2020)

This session focuses on an equity-centered, culturally and linguistically responsive kindergarten through grade twelve instructional literacy approach. The San Diego County Office of Education’s Writing Redesigned for Innovative Teaching and Equity (WRITE), a national academic excellence model for professional development, supports schools and districts to implement this approach to prepare students for college, career, and civic participation.

Webinar recording coming soon.

Presentation slides coming soon.

Upcoming Webinars:

School Nutrition Tuesday@2 Town Hall Series (December 8, 2020, 2 p.m.)

The Nutrition Services Division (NSD) continues the discussion, policy guidance, and sharing of best practices for operating School Nutrition Programs as local educational agencies persevere with offering quality services in the School Year 2020–21 while mitigating the spread of COVID-19, navigating 70 nationwide waivers, and adjusting to various distance and hybrid learning models. Join NSD for Tuesday @ 2 virtual town hall events every month to provide an opportunity for schools to discuss how they are operating their food service programs.

The upcoming webinar will be devoted to answering sponsors frequently asked questions and addressing ongoing food service program concerns. For more information, please visit

SSPI Webinar: Understanding Contemporary Anti-Semitism—An Introduction for California Educators (Wednesday, December 9, 2020, from 3:00-4:30 p.m.)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education are partnering with the Museum of Tolerance to offer a webinar, “Understanding Contemporary Anti-Semitism: An Introduction For California Educators.”

Experts from the Museum of Tolerance will provide a briefoverview of contemporary anti-Semitism and its historic context. We will unpack and examine the different types of anti-Semitism that proliferate in California and our world today.

Join this webinar to:

  • Increase awareness of the complexity of expressions of anti-Semitism.
  • Explore manifestations of contemporary anti-Semitism online and the impact on ourschoolcommunities.
  • Share and discuss strategies to respond tothis type of hate for students and adults.
  • Learn about free resources from the Museum of Tolerance to support your students and faculty in this work.

Attendees will walk away with a high-level understanding of how anti-Semitism has evolved over time,how it spreads in digital spaces, and tools you can use now to combat hate.

Register in advance for this webinar at or view the webinar via Facebook Live on the CDE Facebook page at

SAVE THE DATE: This event is the second of a three-part series as part of our Education to End Hate initiative. The third part of this webinar series is about countering Islamophobia and will take place on January 12, 2021, at 4 p.m. Please follow the CDE’s Facebook and Instagram pages for registration information coming soon.

Multilingual California Alliance Project (MCAP) Universal Design for Learning (UDL)/EL Webinar Series 2020
Understanding the Core Concepts and Principles of UDL to Support English Learners Virtually (December 8, 9, and 10, 2020, at 3:15 p.m. each day)

UDL is a framework that supports all learning. Participants will take away: a snapshot of the history of universal design, the core concepts and design process of UDL, and explore strategies connected to the framework to support English learners in a distance learning environment.

Registration link (Register once for all three days!):

English Learner Roadmap Aligned LCAP Toolkit Workshops: Using Research-based Tools to Promote Equity for English Learners (dates vary by county from November 12, 2020, to March 18, 2021)

This interactive workshop will help LEA teams design an LCAP that is aligned to the research-based California English Learner Roadmap Policy and focuses on identifying actions, services, programs, and resources that ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for English learners. The training will help LEA teams to identify the Dashboard data and how to use the additional features that are a click away to focus on the achievement of English learners and more effectively understand the achievement and status of their English learners.

Participants will engage with the resources included in the Toolkit and explore the ways they might be used to identify and analyze the needs of their English learners. Alignment with EL Roadmap principles and elements will be highlighted. Specifically, the English Learner Research Aligned Rubrics will be reviewed to understand how they can be used as a tool to:

  1. Analyze the strengths and limitations of their proposed English learner programs and services in their existing LCAP
  2. Prioritize focus areas to refine and bolster future annual LCAP development, refinement, and updates.

For more details, please contact the county offices of education that are offering these workshops:

  • Santa Cruz
  • Imperial
  • Solano
  • Orange
  • San Diego
  • Sacramento
  • Riverside
  • Contra Costa
  • San Mateo
  • Tulare
  • Ventura
  • Kern
  • Santa Clara
  • Yolo
At-Promise and Pushed Out (December 10 and 16, 2020, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and December 17, 2020 from 3:30-5 p.m.)

The South County SELPA Content Lead Team will host Valentin Escanuela and Julie Goldman who will present a three-part professional learning series on the topic of “At-Promise and Pushed Out.” Attendees will have the opportunity to explore how educators and school staff members can create the conditions and environment necessary to support our most vulnerable students. Lessons from experts and researchers, as well as data from the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) Juvenile Court and Community Schools will give educators tools and actionable ways to pull our students in and help them feel valued and connected.

Registration for these events can be found on the SDCOE’s At-Promise and Pushed Out web page at

For more information on this event, contact Alicia Moyer at

Coaching for Co-Teachers in Brick and Mortar, Virtual, and Blended Environments for English Learners with Disabilities (December 10, 2020 from 1 to 4 p.m.)

The Imperial County SELPA Team will host Dr. Richard Villa and Dr. Jacqueline Thousand who will present on the topic of “Coaching for Co-Teachers in Brick and Mortar, Virtual, and Blended Environments for English Learners with Disabilities.”

Registration for this event can be found on the Imperial County Office of Education’s Coaching for Co-Teachers in Brick and Mortar, Virtual, and Blended Environments for English Learners and Students with Disabilities web page at

For more information on this event, contact Brenda Sandoval at

Building a Network of Safety for School Communities: Be Sensitive, Be Brave for Mental Health: A Foundational Guide to Mental Health and Mental Illness (December 15, 2020, at 10 a.m.)

The Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup’s Suicide Prevention Committee is offering the "Building a Network of Safety for School Communities" Webinar Series. This month’s webinar, “Be Sensitive, Be Brave for Mental Health: A Foundational Guide to Mental Health and Mental Illness,” will highlight strategies and practices for intervention. Please register at

Questions:   California Department of Education |
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, December 9, 2020
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