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CDE Today for October 1, 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 Logo - 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.


Deadline Extended to October 1, 2021, for High School Students to Submit Grade Change Application to Pass/No Pass

Families of students enrolled in high school in the 2020–21 school year may apply to have a letter grade changed to a P/NP grade. Language in Assembly Bill (AB) 167 has amended Education Code Section 49066.5 stating that if a grade change application has been submitted to the pupil’s local educational agency (LEA) after the deadline that was established from AB 104, it shall be accepted by the LEA if the application is received on or before October 1, 2021, although school districts may extend the deadline longer based on local needs. Read more about this topic in the September 28, 2021, letter from Superintendent Thurmond.

School Closures for Staff Shortages Require Consultation

The CDE is aware that staff shortages due to COVID-19 related illness and quarantine are very real. Section 19 of AB 167 (Chapter 252, Statutes of 2021) amended Education Code Section 46392to require consultation from CDE and the County Office of Education before LEAs can submit a Request for Allowance of Attendance Due to Emergency Conditions Form J-13A due to staff shortages to CDE. CDE staff is available for consultation about different options and practices available to help schools stay open for learning. If you are in need of information and support, sign up for your consultation. Visit the CDE 2021–22 Form J-13A FAQs web page for guidance related to the requirements and submissions for this fiscal year.

Partnership Provides Angst Film and Resources to California Schools for Free

CDE has partnered with IndieFlix Education, the Department of Health Care Services’ CalHOPE program, and Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky initiative to make available the film Angst: Building Resilience, to all public middle and high schools in California. The film is accompanied by a program that will equip educators with tools to support students, including connections to resources, classroom and family discussion guides, and exercises to help youth build resilience and emotional well-being. Registration for the Angst: Building Resilience program is now available, and screenings will begin across the state in October. To bring the film and program to your school district at no cost, visit Angst: Building Resilience Initiative ( External link opens in new window or tab..

Schools Can Apply to Emergency Connectivity Fund—Deadline October 13

California schools are strongly encouraged to apply for federal funds through the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program to support continued efforts to close the digital divide. The $7.17 billion ECF program will help provide relief to millions of students, school staff, and library patrons for the current 2021–22 school year. This is the second application window for the ECF program, with a deadline of October 13. During the first application window, California schools and libraries requested $812 million, which included requests for 985,976 connected devices (laptops/tablets); 325,250 Wi-Fi hotspots; 213,640 fixed broadband connections; and 852,223 mobile devices. Learn more about the Emergency Connectivity Fund program External link opens in new window or tab..

U.S. Senate Youth Program Application for High School Juniors and Seniors—Deadline October 6

The CDE is accepting applications for the 2022 U.S. Senate Youth Program (USSYP) for juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing careers in public service. Two students from each state will be selected to attend Washington Week, a unique educational experience, as well as receive a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship. Students must be nominated by their high school principal and must be currently serving in an elected or appointed leadership capacity in a student government, civic, or educational organization for the entire 2021–22 school year. In addition, nominated students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and currently enrolled in a California public or private secondary school. Visit the CDE USSYP web page for more information.

Youth Advisory Council Application Open to Students—Deadline October 15

The CDE has launched a Youth Advisory Council (YAC) to advise policymakers and interested parties on educational issues affecting young people. Under the Department’s Equity Branch, the YAC will be representative of a diverse spectrum of young voices from across the state. Among other tasks, the YAC will assess topics and educational resources and take part in policy development to create equitable change with local and state government officials. Districts are encouraged to share with families and invite all students ages fifteen to eighteen to apply for the YAC now through October 15. For information on how to apply, please send an email to

SSPI Thurmond Calls for Playground Donations for Plumas County School

State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Tony Thurmond visited several schools and education-related programs this week, including a visit to wildfire-affected areas in Lassen and Plumas counties. SSPI Thurmond distributed donations of gift cards to be used for gas and other needs and, on his visit to Plumas, he put out a statewide call to help raise money to build a new playground on the Greenville Elementary School campus, which lost two play structures in the Dixie Fire. Thurmond is pledging $10,000 to match the first $10,000 that comes in from donations. Check donations for the new playground can be sent to the Plumas County Office of Education at 50 Church Street, Quincy, CA 95971. Please write “Playground for Plumas” in the memo line. Donations can also be made online through the Plumas County Office of Education website External link opens in new window or tab..

School Health, Safety & Support

Pooling Testing Program Schools

CareStart antigen kits are being shipped to schools that are participating in the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Pooled Testing Program for use as a reflex test if there is a positive pool. CareStart kits should only be used in the Pooled Testing Program in coordination with Gingko Bioworks, the CDPH vendor for the Pooled Testing Program. For additional questions regarding CareStart kits, please contact

Program Highlights

Supporting School Nutrition Supply Challenges

The CDE Nutrition Services Division (NSD) is fully maximizing all flexibilities offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including not taking fiscal action this school year when schools are not meeting the meal pattern requirement, and will take the approach of providing technical assistance and support and working with LEAs on reasonable and collaborative solutions. A recent webinar was offered and focused on providing strategies to help address the current food and supply chain issues, including using available federal meal pattern waivers, using shorter menu cycles and communicating with families, increasing par inventory levels, adapting to new delivery schedules, procuring directly from farmers, and more. If you have questions, contact

Importance of the State Seal of Biliteracy

The State Seal of Biliteracy (SSB) program, effective since January 1, 2012, recognizes high school graduates who have attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing one or more languages in addition to English. To encourage participation in the SSB program and early preparation of students, we encourage you to share SSB information to middle school and incoming high school students. Read further details about the SSB and learn about qualification criteria on the CDE State Seal of Biliteracy web page. Please contact Gina Garcia-Smith, Education Programs Consultant, Multilingual Support Division, by phone at 916-319-0265 or by email at

Events and Opportunities

Leveraging Elementary Academic Text to Deepen Proficiency—October 4

This webinar is being offered as part of the CDE Educator Workforce Investment Grant. The grantee English Learner Roadmap Implementation for Systemic Excellence! (EL RISE!) is offering this webinar, hosted by the Orange County Department of Education and the Stanislaus County Office of Education. This two-hour webinar, with embedded pre-session work and follow-up application, will equip teachers to select high-quality mentor texts in order to build students’ ability to effectively express themselves in written and oral formats. The intended audience for this webinar is site administrators, district staff and administrators, county office of education staff, and other parent liaisons or teachers on special assignment who focus on family engagement. Register at the Orange County Department of Education web page External link opens in new window or tab.. For more information, email Carey Arias or call 714-966-4445.

Universal Meals Listening Session—October 5

On October 5, 2021, the Nutrition Services Division (NSD) will host the first in a series of Universal Meals Listening Sessions. These listening sessions are designed to support the successful implementation of the California Universal Meals Program effective in School Year 2022–23. Register for the Universal Meals: Listening Session External link opens in new window or tab.. NSD also released the first round of Universal Meals Frequently Asked Questions. To submit your Universal Meals question, please email NSD at

Share Feedback on Proposed LCAP Revisions Webinar—October 5

CDE will be hosting a Tuesdays @ 2 Webinar on Tuesday, October 5, at 2 p.m. to solicit additional feedback related to the proposed revisions to the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) template and instructions and the template for the Supplement to the Annual Update to the 2021–22 LCAP. The LCAP template and instructions are required to be revised to implement California Education Code sections 42238.07(c)–(e), 52064(b)(6)(B), 52064(b)(8), 52064(e)(5) and (6), and 52064(d)(11) as well as Section 124 of AB 130. A draft of proposed revisions will be shared the week prior to the webinar.  Zoom information is posted on the Tuesdays @ 2 Webinar Series web page. Please contact the Local Agency Systems Support Office at with questions.

California State Park Adventure Pass for Fourth Graders and Families

The California State Park Adventure Pass is a three-year pilot program that waives day-use entrance fees to 19 state parks for fourth graders and their families for a full year. Details can be found on the California Department of Parks and Recreation Adventure Pass web page External link opens in new window or tab.. The program is among First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s Outdoor Access for All initiatives, which also includes the State Library Park Pass, a new two-year pilot program to provide state park passes to libraries across the state that may be checked out by library patrons to gain free day-use access to state parks. Details on that program are forthcoming.


Homeless Education Conference

The CDE Student Achievement and Support Division’s Integrated Student Support and Programs Office hosted the First Annual Homeless Education Conference, Educating California’s Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness: From Identification to Implementation, on Tuesday, September 28, 2021. Over 950 attendees took part in this conference. Participants heard from a youth panel from San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and keynote speaker Dr. Matthew Morton from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and participated in a number of breakout sessions that focused on strategies to support our children and families experiencing homelessness in California.

Important Dates and Deadlines

LGBTQ History Month

The CDE encourages you to honor and celebrate LGBTQ History Month in October, an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. The CDE will present a webinar series to explore and discuss the importance of teaching LGBTQ history. Stay tuned for details. Learn more at the LGBT History Month web site External link opens in new window or tab..

National Hispanic Heritage Month

The CDE encourages you to annually recognize National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. Learn more at the Library of Congress National Hispanic Heritage Month web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Digital Citizenship Week

The CDE encourages you to recognize October 17–23, 2021, as Digital Citizenship Week. This event is one of many efforts in California to build capacity for students and families to make safe, smart, and ethical decisions in the digital world. Digital Citizenship Week is recognized on the third week of October each year. Read more on the CDE Digital Citizenship web page.

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CDE is committed to improving communications with more than a thousand 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, October 1, 2021
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