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CDE Today for December 10, 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Note: CDE Today will not be published on December 24 and December 31 due to the holidays.


State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces Advisory Board to Guide $3 Billion Community Schools Strategy to Transform California Schools

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced this week the formation of an Advisory Board to help guide the work of the California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSPP). The CCSPP is the largest investment in school transformation anywhere in the nation. It is a $3 billion project that will support schools that provide wraparound services for students impacted by the pandemic. Community schools integrate comprehensive, community-based services and programs that strengthen the health and well-being of students, families, and communities. The Community Schools Advisory Board will advise the State Superintendent on all programmatic elements of this historic school transformation effort. They will also help develop strategies for identifying future funding opportunities that make community schools sustainable as a cornerstone of education practice in California. Individuals with expertise and direct experience related to community schools will be prioritized for the advisory board. Those interested in serving on the steering committee should email by Friday, December 17, 2021.

CDE Partnership with Renaissance Learning Provides Gift of Literacy this Winter

As part of State Superintendent Tony Thurmond's literacy initiative to get all California students to read by third grade by 2026, the California Department of Education (CDE) has partnered with Renaissance Learning, Inc. to ensure that every 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 12 students in California. All books downloaded during the two months are able to be read offline. 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: Renaissance Learning Family Letter-English External link opens in new window or tab.; Renaissance Learning Family Letter-Spanish External link opens in new window or tab.. Learn more in this recent Letter from Superintendent Thurmond.

CDE and Gender Nation Partner to Donate LGBTQ+ Affirming Books

As part of State Superintendent Thurmond’s one million book campaign that is part of his literacy efforts, this week CDE partnered with Gender Nation External link opens in new window or tab. to donate more than 7,000 LGBTQ+ affirming books to Los Angeles Unified School District elementary school libraries. More than 650,000 elementary children will have access to these books that reflect the diverse communities that we serve.

School Health, Safety, and Support

Take the National K-12 School Indoor Air Quality Survey by December 17

The Center for Green Schools External link opens in new window or tab., with technical support from ASHRAE External link opens in new window or tab., is conducting a national IAQ survey External link opens in new window or tab. to understand how indoor air quality (IAQ) strategies have been used by schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The short, 20-minute survey should be taken by a school district facilities manager or someone closely familiar with school district facility management [one response per public K–12 school district]. The survey data that is collected will be anonymized and will inform a national report that will contribute to a shared understanding of IAQ implementation in schools, while helping local, state, and federal policymakers understand what is needed on the ground.

The CDE encourages California school districts to participate in this national IAQ survey External link opens in new window or tab. by December 17, 2021

State Superintendent’s Literacy Task Force Update

This week, State Superintendent Thurmond met with the State Literacy Task Force to hear the first report from working groups that have been developing ideas and studying promising practices for literacy development throughout the State. The Literacy Task Force is charged with developing plans and elevating promising practices that will catalyze efforts in districts across the state to meet the Superintendent’s goal that all California students will meet literacy and biliteracy goals by third grade by 2026. Anyone with an idea to improve literacy and biliteracy may send an email to

Program Highlights

Universal Meals Program Updates

To support the implementation of the California Universal Meals Program, the Nutrition Services Division (NSD) is creating a universal meals web page, and collecting frequently asked questions (FAQs) via email at The top twelve FAQs submitted to the mailbox are answered on the Universal Meals FAQ web page.

NSD is also hosting a Universal Meals Program monthly webinar series. The next webinar is scheduled for January 11, 2022, and will feature a deep dive into the provision requirements included in the Universal Meals Program. Webinar details will be available on the Nutrition What’s New web page once released. Questions and requests for further information can be directed to

Events and Opportunities

Social Isolation Supports Grants Available

The CDE is accepting applications from community-based organizations supporting local educational agencies with technical assistance and/or the implementation of high quality integrated academic, behavioral, and social-emotional learning practices that target and counter social isolation. Local educational agencies (LEAs) are encouraged to work with their partner community-based organizations (CBOs) to apply for these grants. The Social Isolation Supports Grants application process and criteria are available on the CDE Social Isolation Supports Funding web page. The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 7, 2022.  

Reading Instruction and Intervention Grant Program—Applications Due January 28, 2022

The Educator Excellence and Equity Division is pleased to announce that the Request for Applications for the Reading Instruction and Intervention Grant (RII Grant) is now available. The CDE is seeking grant applications in order to select an LEA, an LEA in partnership with an institution of higher education or nonprofit organization, or a consortia to disseminate professional learning opportunities for educators, including teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals, serving kindergarten through grade twelve students across the state. The grantee will provide professional learning in the areas of evidence-based literacy, intensive literacy interventions, and executive functioning skills. Completed applications are due Friday, January 28, 2022, by 4 p.m. More information is available on the CDE RII Grant Request for Applications web page.


Resources for Indian Student Education Win Award for Short Film

A short film produced by Resources for Indian Student Education (RISE) recently won the 2021 Quetzalcoatl Indigenous International Film Human Rights award for “Stand Strong,” revealing the silent crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The film, which premiered at a sold out Native American Music Awards, features Native students from the RISE-CDE funded American Indian Education Center as well as Deb Haaland, United States Secretary of the Interior. View the Stand Strong film online External link opens in new window or tab..

Additional information about our work with Native American families and LEAs can be found on the CDE website:

Central Valley School Counselor Named 2022 School Counselor of the Year

Congratulations to Alma Lopez, lead school counselor at Livingston Middle School in the Livingston Union School District in Merced County, who was named the 2022 School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). The award honors one person annually who has provided exceptional service and created programs to serve all students. She is the first Californian, the first Latina, and one of the first rural counselors to win this honor. Lopez has been a school counselor for 15 years and has created district-wide programs to advance students’ career and academic goals, and help them develop social and emotional resilience. Read more about Lopez’s work on EdSource External link opens in new window or tab..

Important Dates and Deadlines

Clarification on December 25 Public Holiday

Last week, in the December 3 edition of CDE Today, inaccurate information was shared about the December 25 Christmas Holiday, indicating that the CDE would be observing the holiday on December 27 and our offices would be closed. The CDE will be open on December 27 and we apologize for any confusion.

Computer Science Education Week (December 6 through December 12)

The CDE encourages you to recognize December 6 through December 12 as Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek). 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 Computer Science Education Week External link opens in new window or tab. to get involved and learn more.

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CDE committed to improving communications with more than 1,000 school districts and county offices and 10,000-plus school districts. If you have any feedback about this publication or would like to see information on particular topics, please email

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Last Reviewed: Friday, December 10, 2021
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