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CDE Today for December 3, 2021

A streamlined weekly publication from the California Department of Education (CDE) designed to provide you with clear, consistent updates on what is important to California schools.

CDE Today, State of California Department of Education, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond

Welcome to CDE Today, a new, streamlined, weekly publication from CDE Communications designed to provide you with clear, consistent updates on what is important to California schools.

Note: CDE Today will not be published the weeks of December 20 or 27, 2021.


CDE Partnership with Renaissance Learning Provides Gift of Literacy this Winter

Free Digital Library Access and Books for All CA Students—All Downloaded Content in Next Two Months Can Be Retained

As part of State Superintendent Tony Thurmond's literacy initiative, the California Department of Education (CDE) has partnered with Renaissance Learning to ensure that every California student can access thousands of reading resources from December 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022. The myON digital library and news articles in multiple languages can be accessed for free by all pre-K to grade twelve students in California. All books downloaded during the two months are able to be retained and accessed afterwards. Schools are asked to provide the access code to unlock these free resources for students and families.

Please use the Family Letter templates to share this news, login code, and message with families in your school communities:

Read more in the CDE news release or email us at Any questions about Renaissance partnership should be directed to Kim Shoemaker at

SPI Thurmond to Spotlight Best Practices to Support Literacy and Biliteracy

As part of an ongoing effort to help students recover from learning loss, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will host a town hall on Monday, December 6 at 3:30 p.m. to spotlight best practices and secure new ideas to support literacy and biliteracy goals. State Superintendent Thurmond will moderate a panel discussion with education leaders who have led or are leading programs that have been proven to improve literacy and biliteracy for Black students, English learners, and other students in need of support of making literacy gains. Read the CDE news release for more information and register for the town hall on Literacy and Biliteracy on Zoom External link opens in new window or tab. or tune in through CDE Facebook Live.

School Health, Safety, and Support

Tracking the Omicron Variant

As noted by State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón External link opens in new window or tab., California is closely monitoring the new Omicron variant. Based on what is known to date, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is not actively considering changes to the current mitigation approach in K-12 schools External link opens in new window or tab.. Vaccines continue to be the best way to safely protect us against severe illness; universal masking indoors remains important; and testing is critical in many contexts. For more information, please see the CDPH Fact Sheet on the Omicron variant External link opens in new window or tab.. Again, CDPH continues to monitor the situation closely, including any potential impact this variant may have on school communities.

New California COVID-19 School Readiness Hub

Visit the California COVID-19 School Readiness Hub External link opens in new window or tab.. The new site has been organized into specific topics to provide you with easy access to the information, resources, and links you need as conditions and guidance change or new resources come online.

Program Highlights

LEAs Get Support to Spend $1.75 Billion for Expanded Learning

The Program Plan Guide for the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program is now available. This guide has been produced to assist local educational agencies with planning for mandated expanded learning programming, including how to spend an unprecedented $1.75 billion in funding, to support TK through sixth grade students before and after school and with summer programs. For more information, visit the CDE Expanded Learning Opportunities Programs web page.

Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Survey

The CDE and the San Joaquin County Office of Education are gathering input from partners like you to inform the development of an electronic template system and a potential database connected to that system. Goals for a new data tool and database are to provide information to school and district staff, families, and communities about each school district’s plan for supporting positive student outcomes through the school district Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs). Please share your input through a short survey by December 13, 2021!

If you have any questions, please contact the Local Agency Systems Support Office at

State Board of Education Adopts Visual Arts and Music Programs

At its meeting on November 3, 2021, the State Board of Education voted to approve instructional materials for the disciplines of visual arts and music. The programs, two for visual arts (grades one through six and kindergarten through eight) and one for music (kindergarten through five), align with the 2019 California Arts Standards for Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve.

Three visual arts publishers and two music publishers submitted instructional programs for the 2021 Arts Adoption, which began on May 7, 2021. The State Board’s action formalized the recommendations of the instructional materials reviewers and content review experts who participated in the 2021 Arts Adoption and approved by the Instructional Quality Commission at its meeting in September. The decisions are posted on the CDE Visual and Performing Arts Instructional Materials web page.

While school districts may follow local processes for choosing instructional materials, those adopted by the State Board undergo rigorous review by panels of educators. They offer high-quality materials designed to meet the needs of students with a wide range of abilities and can support quality arts learning in California schools and communities.

State Board of Education Adopts World Languages Instructional Programs

At its meeting on November 3, 2021, the State Board of Education voted to approve 10 instructional programs for kindergarten through eighth grade that align with the 2019 World Languages Standards for Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (WL Standards). Four publishers submitted instructional programs for review that included a total of three performance levels: Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced. Like the WL Standards, the instructional materials the State Board of Education has adopted support local educational agencies (LEAs) as they promote multilingualism for all students through access to high-quality, well-articulated world languages programs. Instructional resources that support the teaching and learning of the WL Standards may encourage LEAs to introduce and support language learning early in elementary school, offer a wider range of world languages, and streamline the progression of language acquisition from elementary through high school and beyond.

Events and Opportunities

Nutrition Service Division Tuesday @ 2 Virtual Town Hall—December 7, 2:00 p.m.

The Nutrition Services Division continues the discussion for operating School Nutrition Programs (SNPs) as LEAs navigate multiple nationwide waivers and persevere with planning quality services in the 2021–22 school year. This event will feature Brandy Dreibelbis, Director of School Food Operations from the Chef Ann Foundation. Brandy will discuss the Healthy School Food Pathways Program that includes a pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program that will support education and workforce development for healthy school food change in California. Register via Zoom for the Tuesday @ School Nutrition Town Hall webinar External link opens in new window or tab.. For more information, please visit the CDE Webinar: Tuesdays at 2 School Nutrition Town Hall web page. For questions, contact Julie Boarer Pitchford at

Webinar Series: Summer Game Plan Series 2022—December 8, 3:00 p.m.

Please join the Partnership for Children and Youth and California Collaborative for Educational Excellence for the launch of the Summer Game Plan Series 2022 to hear what new technical assistance and resources will be available to K–12 administrators, educators, and community partners to get ready for next summer. District leaders will share how they overcame barriers and implemented new approaches to their summer programs, the impacts they saw, how it informed their schoolyear planning, and why now is the time to begin planning for Summer 2022. Read more and register on the Summer Game Plan 2022 registration page External link opens in new window or tab..

Learn more about what learning looked like in Summer 2021 and promising practices education leaders can use to plan for Summer 2022 and beyond.


California School for the Deaf Football Team Makes History; Opportunity to Donate Toward New Bleachers for State Special School

Congratulations to CDE’s own State Special School, the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, whose football team had an incredible 12-1 season. View ESPN's video wrap-up of their historic season on SportsCenter External link opens in new window or tab..

State Superintendent Thurmond is supporting an effort to fund new bleachers for California School for the Deaf, Riverside’s football program. If interested, please write a check to the C Booster Club, memo “Bleachers,” and mail to: C Booster Club, P.O. Box 20872, Riverside, CA 92516. (EIN: 82-4791230)

California High School Students Named for the 2022 U.S. Senate Youth Program

Congratulations to the two students announced by State Superintendent Thurmond as state representatives for the 60th annual United States Senate Youth Program. Joleen Bakalova of Loma Linda (San Bernardino County), a junior at Citrus Valley High School in Redlands Unified School District, and Sneha Revanur of San Jose (Santa Clara County), a senior at Evergreen Valley High School in East Side Union High School District, were selected for their extraordinary leadership skills, significant commitments to their schools and communities, and academic and extracurricular achievements as California’s delegates in this highly competitive program. Thurmond also named two alternates in the event that one or both of the delegates are unable to attend the program. Read more in the CDE news release.

California Teacher is One of Two National Award Winners for Cybersecurity Education

Congratulations to R.M. Miano Elementary School and Los Banos Unified School District teacher Sergio de Alba, who was named a recipient of the 2021 Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award! The award is presented by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Security Agency. De Alba was selected for his superior accomplishments in contributing to the field of cybersecurity at his school, including founding a STEM program and spearheading a “Cybersecurity Challenge” for sixth grade students. Read more on the U.S. Department of Education’s website about de Alba and the award External link opens in new window or tab..

Important Dates and Deadlines

Computer Science Education Week (December 6–12)

The CDE encourages you to recognize December 6 through 12 as Computer Science Education Week. CSEdWeek is an annual call to action to inspire K–12 students to learn computer science, advocate for equity in computer science education, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field. Visit the CSEdWeek website External link opens in new window or tab. to get involved and learn more.

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Last Reviewed: Monday, December 6, 2021
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