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CDE Today for September 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 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.


Partnering in Problem Solving

Last week, CDE asked local educational agencies to identify the most challenging issues facing school reopening as well as ideas and solutions. We are grateful to those who took the time to address the complexities of independent study, quarantines, COVID-19 testing, teacher shortages, and more, and provide short and long-term solution suggestions. The CDE has reviewed all submissions and is working with the Department of Finance, the Legislature, State Board of Education, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Governor’s Office to create clarifications to AB 130 and to provide clear communications about the most critical issues you are facing. Watch for updates coming soon.

Wildfires and School Emergency Reporting

Wildfires raging across California are currently impacting dozens of schools. Last week, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond met with El Dorado County superintendents to see first-hand and understand how the Caldor Fire is impacting schools in the area and to offer support to displaced residents. He connected with students, met with fire officials, and addressed concerns made by local education leaders. A number of CDE staff volunteers joined the visit. To facilitate strong communication in the event of natural disasters, LEAs should take part in School Emergency Reporting System Training to ensure the exchange of real-time information and needs-based support in all types of crises. Learn more on the CDE School Disaster and Emergency Management web page.

Back to School—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Visits and Website Resources

Class is back in session! State Superintendent Tony Thurmond has been up and down the state to welcome students and staff to campus for safe, in-person instruction. Thurmond will continue to make a series of on-campus visits to showcase students engaged in safe, in-person learning supported by multi-layered safety measures as well as ways schools are equitably addressing learning gaps while attending to student mental health and the needs of families.

As part of our effort to share important efforts, the new CDE Back to School website provides quick access to key information and tools specific to serving the needs of students as schools work open for safe, in-person instruction and stay open even within the changing public health conditions, wildfires, smoke, and other challenges. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

School Health, Safety, and Support

Updated CDPH Guidance for K-12 Schools

On September 1, CDPH issued revised school guidance to cover extracurricular activities, including athletics and music. The updated guidance applies to all extracurricular activities that are operated or supervised by schools regardless of whether they occur during school hours, including sports, band, chorus and clubs. To view the full CDPH COVID-19 Guidelines for Schools, visit the COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California web page External link opens in new window or tab..

For frequently asked questions on K–12 School guidance, visit the CDPH K-12 School Guidance 21-22 FAQs web page External link opens in new window or tab..

COVID-19 Vaccine Resources for Parents

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond wrote to California parents and guardians encouraging them to make getting the COVID-19 vaccination a priority as students return to in-person classrooms this month, stressing that vaccines are safe, effective, free, and given to all individuals living in the U.S. regardless of insurance or immigration status. Access CDE's helpful flyers in English and Spanish: What You Need to Know (PDF) and Lo que necesitan saber sobre (PDF) [NOTE: the preceding documents are no longer available].

Program Highlights

What’s New in Expanded Learning?

The new Expanded Learning Opportunity Program (ELO-P) brings $1.75 billion to holistically support students before school, after school and summer. This new funding compliments After School Education and Safety, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Elementary/Middle School, and should create one single, comprehensive program. The ELOP-P was created by AB 130.  Visit the CDE ELO-P Frequently Asked Questions web page. For questions regarding the ELO-P, please email To stay up to date on new information regarding the ELO-P, please watch the Fireside Chats External link opens in new window or tab. with CDE and the California Afterschool Network.

The Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant (ELO-G) fund source was revised to also include federal stimulus funds. Assurances and reporting requirements are in the process of being developed. This process will be very similar to the federal stimulus funding reporting.  The ELO-G was created by AB 86. Visit the CDE ELO-G COVID-19 Relief web page (includes frequently asked questions, link to revised allocations), and CDE Accounting for AB 86 Funding Guidance web page (includes new federal resource codes), Helpdesk email:

Gender-Neutral Restrooms Guidance

The School Facilities and Transportation Services Division (SFTSD) is pleased to share our present effort to develop guidance for multi-user gender-neutral restrooms in K–12 schools. To inform development of the guidance, SFTSD is seeking stakeholder participation from local educational agencies, school site personnel, architects and other design professionals, students, and community-based organizations. To participate, apply now (Online Survey) [NOTE: this survey has closed] through September 24, 2021.

Educator Workforce Investment Grant (EWIG): English Learner (EL) Roadmap Implementation

The two EWIG EL Roadmap 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. Find more information on the CABE Multilingual California Project (MCAP) website External link opens in new window or tab., the CalTog EL Roadmap Implementation for Systemic Excellence (EL RISE!) web page External link opens in new window or tab. and the CDE Educator Workforce Investment Grant: EL Roadmap Policy Implementation web page.

Assessment Spotlight

The CDE Assessment Spotlight is a regular email for K–12 educators, including testing coordinators, that reports on current and upcoming activities related to 2021–22 statewide testing (PDF) [NOTE: the preceding document is no longer available]. It focuses on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) and English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC)—and including, when timely, updates on California’s other statewide assessments. Visit the CDE Assessment Spotlight web page for archives of all previous Assessment Spotlight emails and how to receive regular updates on the latest information about the statewide assessment system.

Newsletters from Multilingual Division

The Multilingual Support Division (formerly the English Learner Support Division) is publishing two newsletters: the Multilingual Parent Newsletter (formerly known as the Distance Learning Parent Newsletter) and the Multilingual Updates Newsletter. These newsletters will be published quarterly starting in fall 2021. To read the newsletters, go to the CDE Multilingual Updates Newsletters webpage.

Educator Workforce Investment Grant (EWIG): Special Education Resources

The CDE, the California Collaborative for Excellence in Education (CCEE), and the EWIG Special Education grantee, Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), have partnered and created a California Coalition for Inclusive Literacy Padlet External link opens in new window or tab. with resources that include links to webinar series, recommendations on remote design, video assessments in the virtual class, lesson planning guides, and more. For more information, contact Shamryn Coyle, Director, California Coalition for Inclusive Literacy at

Seeds of Partnership E-Communication

The CDE Special Education Division partners with Seeds of Partnership to support statewide initiatives and activities related to professional development, monitoring requirements and improvement, family engagement, youth leadership, early learning and the Family Empowerment Centers. Subscribe to their e-communication or learn more on the Seeds of Partnership website External link opens in new window or tab..

Events and Opportunities

Investing in Mental Health: A Roundtable Discussion (September 15, 2021, 11:30 a.m.)

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond invites you to join a roundtable discussion about the importance of mental health on September 15, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. With the return to school, supporting students, families, and communities by addressing mental health is a key priority. Register for the Investing in Mental Health: A Roundtable Discussion webinar via Zoom [NOTE: this webinar has passed] or watch it on Facebook Live External link opens in new window or tab..

Growth Model and Q&A Webinar (September 13, 2021, 3 p.m.)

Did you know that California recently adopted a methodology to measure academic student growth in grades four through eight? Learn about what this means at the CDE’s Growth Model and Q&A webinar on September 13, 2021, from 3–4 p.m. We will present the Growth Model Toolkit—the resources available to support schools and the general public when the data files are released on September 22—and discuss frequently asked questions about the growth model, after which time will be allotted for your questions. Register on the Zoom Growth Model and Q&A Webinar Registration web page [NOTE: this webinar has passed].

School Emergency Reporting System (SERS) Trainings (Thursdays in September)

Training sessions will be held every Thursday at 2 p.m. on Zoom throughout the month of September. Each session is limited to 500 participants. To learn more, visit the CDE School Disaster and Emergency Management web page or register for the training on Zoom[NOTE: this webinar has passed] today.

Passport to Their Future: 18 Years and Beyond (September 16, 2021, 10 a.m.)

This is the third event in a series offered by Rowell Family Empowerment of Northern California. On September 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., training participants will learn about the movement from the Transition IEP into the world of adult services. To join, register for the Passport to Their Future training on Zoom [NOTE: this training has passed]. Contact Patrick Garcia-Smith, Education Programs Assistant, Special Education Division at

Evaluation of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations: A Nondiscriminatory Assessment Framework for All Practitioners (September 16, 2021)

This day-long workshop offered by Imperial County Office of Education (ICOE) will present current research on language, cognitive, academic development, and their application to evaluation within a comprehensive, research-based framework for generating valid data to support conclusions and decisions regarding the presence or absence of various types of disorders with culturally and linguistically diverse learners. Register on the ICOE Zoom Registration web page [NOTE: this workshop has passed].

Two-Part Webinar for Early Learning and Care Contractors (September 17, 2021, 9 a.m.)

To build a partnership with the early learning and care field and foster open communication and transparency, the CDE is offering a two-part webinar this month. The first hour (9 a.m. to 10 a.m.) will provide updates on recently released and ongoing CDE guidance work and updates on policy, fiscal and program quality. The second hour (10 a.m. to 11 a.m.) will provide guidance on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Survey that is required for all California State Preschool Program (CSPP) contractors and providers to complete. For Zoom access information, please contact the CDE Early Learning and Care Division at 916-322-6233.

P-3 Webinar: Implementing Universal Preschool with a P-3 Frame: A Conversation with District Leaders (September 23, 2021, 3:30 p.m.)

Please join the Opportunities for All Branch on September 23, 2021 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. for latest information on new investments in P-3, with a focus on implementation of Universal Preschool, including Transitional Kindergarten, and information on upcoming funding opportunities. The CDE, in partnership with the Learning Policy Institute, will also highlight considerations for successful universal preschool and P-3 alignment implementation. Leaders from three school districts across the state will discuss implementation challenges they have faced and share strategies for overcoming barriers to create coherent and effective learning experiences for all students. To join, please register for the P-3 webinar via Zoom [NOTE: this webinar has passed].


Celebrating the Talent and Tenure of Chief Deputy Gregson

CDE shares its deepest thanks to Dr. Stephanie Gregson for her more than five-year tenure with the Department. Dr. Gregson joined CDE’s Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division in 2016 as the Director and later rose to the ranks of Deputy Superintendent of the Instruction and Measurement Branch, eventually to be named Chief Deputy on March 1, 2020. Under Dr. Gregson’s leadership, CDE navigated the uncertainties of a global pandemic while remaining focused on supporting California’s 6.2 million students and LEAs as they worked to safely reopen schools.

Dr. Gregson will be assuming the role as Deputy Executive Director at the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence where she will follow her passion for directly supporting teachers and districts through programming and professional learning. She will be greatly missed by her colleagues for her caring and compassionate leadership, collaborative spirit, and inspiring initiative to ensure all students are well-cared for and well-prepared for the future.

State Board Approves Appointment of Mary Nicely as New Chief Deputy

On September 9, 2021, the State Board of Education took action to approve Mary Nicely as the next Chief Deputy of CDE. Ms. Nicely previously served as Deputy Superintendent for the Information and Technology Branch and Senior Advisor to the State Superintendent leading the Superintendent’s Initiatives Office, focusing on recruitment and retention of teachers of color, community schools, and educator housing and public/private partnerships with philanthropy and industry. Notably, she supported the Superintendent’s Digital Divide Taskforce, working with internal and external stakeholders, technology companies, and major internet service providers throughout the state to close technology gaps impacting students and educators. As part of her current duties, Chief Deputy Nicely will oversee the full expansion and implementation of the newly formed Equity Branch and other changes within the Department. Nicely holds a bachelor’s degree in political economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a business administration degree from Monterey Peninsula Community College in Monterey.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Patriot Day (September 11, 2021)

In the United States, Patriot Day, observed as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, occurs on September 11 of each year in memory of the 2,977 people killed in the 2001 September 11 attacks.

September is Suicide Prevention Month

Since the pandemic began, students have experienced intense stress and some of the biggest challenges they may experience in a lifetime. We must ensure that we prioritize the mental and emotional health of students who will likely be entering a very different school environment this fall. During Suicide Prevention Week (September 5-11), World Suicide Prevention Day (Friday, September 10th), Suicide Prevention Month (the month of September) and throughout the year, schools are encouraged to use the following resources to engage students, staff and the larger school community: CDE’s Mental Health Resources web page, CDE’s Help for Students in Crisis web page, the LivingWorks Online Training External link opens in new window or tab. for middle and high school staff and students, and the Back to School: Mental Health Thrival Kit External link opens in new window or tab. from the Suicide is Preventable website External link opens in new window or tab..

High School Voter Education Weeks (September 13–24, 2021)

CDE encourages your school to participate in High School Voter Education Weeks to put our students on the path to a lifetime of civic engagement and voting

National Hispanic Heritage Month

The CDE encourages you to annually recognize September as National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15–October 15.

Stay Connected

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Send Your Feedback

CDE 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

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Last Reviewed: Thursday, June 29, 2023
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