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CDE Today for December 17, 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 publish editions the weeks of December 20 or 27. The next issue will be published on January 7, 2022.


Happy Holidays from the California Department of Education

The CDE sends warmest wishes to you and your family as we celebrate the holiday season. Whether virtual or in person, we hope your holiday is peaceful and full of joy in whatever ways you choose to celebrate. We look forward to a new year full of opportunities.

The Gift of Literacy and the Season of Reading

As part of State Superintendent Tony Thurmond's literacy initiative to get all California students reading 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, via the myON digital library.

We are pleased to report that, from December 1 to December 14, students have read 955,753 books; 16,623,668 pages; 7,162,826 minutes; and 1,136,246,392 words!

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 read offline. Schools have been asked to provide the access code to unlock these free resources for students and families. Learn more in this recent letter from Superintendent Thurmond regarding the myON digital library.

The CDE and State Superintendent Thurmond to Announce Pivotal Practice School and District Awards for the 2020–21 School Year

State Superintendent Thurmond and the CDE will soon be announcing the newly created 2022 California School Pivotal Practice Award to highlight innovation and exceptional work by California schools during the pandemic. This award will be offered in lieu of the Distinguished School Award to schools and districts for implementing one or more “pivotal practices” during the 2020–21 school year, when COVID-19 required California schools to offer distance learning.

Applicants will choose to highlight a pivotal practice from at least one of the following categories:

  • Student Engagement during Distance Learning
  • Distribution of Technology during Distance Learning
  • Nutrition Services during Distance Learning
  • Social Emotional Well-Being of Students during Distance Learning

Applications will open in January, and the deadline will be in February. More information to come after the new year.

U.S. Department of Education Approves ESSER III Funds to Support Hiring/ Retaining Educators

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a letter to clarify that ESSER III funds authorized by the ARP Act may be used toward evidence-based strategies to support hiring and retaining qualified and effective educators, including increasing educator and staff compensation, building and maintaining a cadre of high-quality substitute teachers, supporting educator and staff well-being (including through improved work conditions), and making investments in the educator pipeline. Please see the full text of this letter, including more information and examples of each of these strategies, from Secretary Cardona: Addressing Teacher and Staff Shortages External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

CDE Response to School Threats Posted on TikTok and Other Social Media

The CDE is aware of threats of violence against schools circulating on TikTok and other social media platforms. We understand that this is a statewide as well as a national issue, and State Superintendent Thurmond has been in touch with the California Highway Patrol to assess the situation and as a precautionary measure of security for our schools. The CDE continues to monitor the situation, and we have also been in touch with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to provide additional safety measures and resources to our school districts as needed.

To report any suspicious activity to the state, please contact a Fusion Center and submit a Suspicious Activity Report. Go to the California State Threat Assessment System website External link opens in new window or tab. and click on "REPORTING". This will take you to a reporter map. Click on your county, and a reporting form will come up. Additionally, each Fusion Center’s phone number is listed on the reporting page.

We are advising that students should take care not to repost threats, as they create a cycle of fear and can complicate law enforcement investigations. We are asking schools to remain vigilant and to contact their local law enforcement agencies if they have any concerns. The CDE also encourages our schools to ensure counselors or mental health professionals are available for students who would like to speak to someone. Districts should be in touch with CDE if they need additional resources.

School Health, Safety, and Support

California Indoor Mask Mandate for Indoor Public Settings

As you plan holiday travel and visits this season, please be mindful that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has updated its indoor masking requirement. Beginning on December 15, 2021, CDPH requires masks to be worn in all indoor public settings irrespective of vaccine status through January 15, 2022, at which point California will make further recommendations as needed in response to the pandemic. Read more in the news release on the CDPH Office of Communications web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Program Highlights

Public Release of 2020–21 Student Data

The CDE is working on a combined data release of assessment results and other key data. We anticipate the public release of the 2020–21 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) and English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) results, along with the release of other student data measures, will occur in January 2022.

Webinar on Understanding American Indian-Alaskan Native Students and Communities

On Wednesday, December 15, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond hosted “Understanding the American Indian Student in Your Classroom Today.” Guests included San Diego County Superintendent Dr. Paul Gothold; Executive Director of California Indian Museum and Cultural Center, Nicole Lim-Myers, J.D. (Pomo); and Professor Joely Proudfit, Ph.D. (Luiseño/Payomkowishum), Professor and Department Chair for the American Indian Studies Department at CSU San Marcos. Topics included an overview of tribes throughout the state, basic terminology, professional development, and resources for K–12 teachers to connect with American Indian students. View the webinar on the CDE Facebook page External link opens in new window or tab..

Universal Prekindergarten Teacher Pipeline Resource Compendium

In partnership with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), the CDE is pleased to release the Universal Prekindergarten Teacher Pipeline Resource Compendium. California’s 2021–22 State Budget committed major funding investments to expand both transitional kindergarten (TK) and the California State Preschool Program (CSPP). Posted are summaries of the key investments and policy changes included in the 2021–22 State Budget that support the professional development, recruitment, and retention of the CSPP, TK, and kindergarten workforce. Several of these investments specifically highlight the opportunities to utilize the funds for activities designed to support diversifying the workforce, such as the Teacher Residency Grant Program and the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program.

To download this publication, please visit the CDE Preschool Through Third Grade (P-3) Alignment web page. If you have questions, please contact

Events and Opportunities

Nominations Open for California High School Counselor Award

Each year, the California Student Aid Commission solicits nominations recommending a California high school counselor who demonstrates effectiveness for serving students in preparing for and pursuing their higher education. The candidate may be nominated by the district and county leadership, fellow school counselor/teacher, school principal, or another site administrator. The Arthur S. Marmaduke High School Counselor Award, which includes a plaque and $1,500 check, is presented at the awardee’s high school or virtually via Zoom. The application process and criteria are available on the California Student Aid Commission website External link opens in new window or tab., and the deadline to apply is February 28, 2022.

Social Isolation Supports Grants Available

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

Webinar: Building a Robust and Diverse P-3 Teacher Pipeline: Requirements, Funding Opportunities, and Best Practices from the Field—January 27

On January 27, 2022, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., leadership from the CDE and the Commission for Teacher Credentialing will share updates on requirements for Universal Pre-K through third grade educators and provide information on funding opportunities available to support the recruitment, preparation, and professional development of a qualified workforce. Practitioners from a successful state initiative, higher education program, and California school district will share their insights and best practices for building and maintaining a strong P-3 teacher pipeline. Registration will open in early January. To stay updated on Department news related to our P-3 initiative, including new resources and funding opportunities, spotlights on local P-3 implementation in action, and on upcoming and recent P-3 events, email "subscribe” to

Important Dates and Deadlines

Public Holidays

The CDE will be open on December 27, 2021, and January 3, 2022.

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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

Questions:   Communications | | 916-319-0818
Last Reviewed: Friday, December 17, 2021
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