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CDE Today for January 28, 2022

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


Renaissance Digital Reading Partnership Extended through February

On January 25, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced that unlimited access to myON digital books and daily news articles for students in California has been extended until Monday, February 28, 2022. A partnership with Renaissance Learning, Inc., was originally announced in December to give students from pre-K to twelfth grade The Gift of Literacy External link opens in new window or tab. and provide students an opportunity to engage in reading at home, at school, and in the community. The digital reading partnership is part of Superintendent Thurmond’s statewide literacy campaign to help all California students reach the goal of literacy by third grade by the year 2026. Read more about the digital reading partnership and the extension on the CDE News Releases web page.

“A Trusted Space” Initiative to Address Mental Health Needs

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced "A Trusted Space: Redirecting Grief to Growth," a film-based program to help address increasing mental health challenges faced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by the nonprofit All It Takes, the program provides educators and school staff across the state with strategies to build safe and trusted spaces for K–12 students. The film and curriculum follow another critical mental health support program launched in October, "Angst: Building Resilience," which was provided to middle and high schools throughout California. Both are easy-to-use, free resources that can be implemented immediately with ease across schools in the state. Read more in the CDE news release announcing "A Trusted Space" Initiative.

SSPI Thurmond speaks to KTVU on Plans to Increase Teachers of Color

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond spoke with KTVU Fox 2 about plans to increase retention and recruitment for teachers of color as part of an effort to address staff shortages being experienced in California schools. Read the full article and hear Thurmond’s remarks External link opens in new window or tab..

School Health, Safety & Support

Masking Tips for Children

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released a new factsheet on different mask options for children, with a focus on improving fit and filtration. It includes a ranking of options from least to most effective. The factsheet and a one-page flyer in English and Spanish can be found at Masks for Kids: Tips and Resources External link opens in new window or tab..

New Edition of SHARE is Available—Group Tracing

How have local health and education officials incorporated Group Tracing Guidance into their contract tracing efforts? Find out the answer to that question and more in the latest edition of School Health Repository of Experiences (SHARE), a space provided by California Safe Schools for All External link opens in new window or tab. to host content generated by and for California’s local health and school leaders. Not all information may apply to your situation; see the disclaimer for more. Read the January 24, 2022, issue of SHARE External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF).

Program Highlights

Early Education Teacher Development Grant Program—Letter of Intent Extension to February 2

In light of the challenges being posed by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and the impact this is having on local educational agencies that may wish to submit a letter of intent (LOI) for the Early Education Teacher Development Grant Program, the CDE will extend the deadline for the LOI. This LOI is a required submission for any local educational agency that wishes to apply for funds through the Early Education Teacher Development Grant Program. The LOI is due to the CDE by 5 p.m. on February 2, 2022. The LOI request can be found as a PDF on the CDE website (PDF). Those who have already submitted an LOI do not need to resubmit. However, if the information in your submitted LOI has changed, please contact the grant's program team via the grant’s program email address. For any questions regarding the Early Education Teacher Development Grant program, please email

Events and Opportunities


Applying for the California State Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, and Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program Funding—February 3

On Thursday, February 3, from 10 a.m. to noon, the CDE, the Office of Public School Construction, and the Division of the State Architect are conducting a free State Agency workshop External link opens in new window or tab. to provide information on school planning, design, and the availability of state funding to help local educational agencies address their facility needs, with a focus on applying for the California State Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, and Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program. Topics include how to plan for a project using the program, tips and guidance from each agency on how to successfully navigate the program, and a case study from a local educational agency that has successfully completed a project. To participate, register for the Roles of the State Agencies in the School Construction Process workshop on Eventbrite External link opens in new window or tab.. For questions about this workshop, please contact CDE School Facilities and Transportation Services Division at

Responsive Design: How Deep Listening Can Transform Teacher Professional Learning—February 9

This webinar is hosted by the California Academy of Sciences in partnership with CDE. What happens when we take the time to listen to teachers? And when they take the time to listen to their students? Join us to learn from one case study of responsively designed teacher Professional Learning—the Bayview Science Institute External link opens in new window or tab.—that is transforming the culture of science teaching and learning in the Southeast corner of San Francisco Unified. In this free, interactive workshop, we will share the concrete tools we used to listen to educators and to co-design a cross-school teacher support network. Learn more and register at the California Academy of Science Teacher Workshops web page External link opens in new window or tab.. The CDE’s Educator Excellence and Equity Division collaborated with the California Academy of Sciences on this workshop; contact Shannon Gordon at if you have questions.

Building a Robust, Diverse, Effective, and Well-Supported P-3 Workforce

New Date: February 17

Due to the current priorities in the field, the Opportunities for All Branch has changed the date of its P-3 webinar from this week (formerly on January 27) to Thursday, February 17, from 3 to 5 p.m. This next installment of the P-3 webinar series will focus on Teacher Pipeline and Professional Learning. To attend the Zoom webinar, please register through the Zoom registration page External link opens in new window or tab.. For information on Department news related to our P-3 initiative, email “subscribe” to


Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup—Deadline January 28

The CDE is now accepting applications for the Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup. The group will be comprised of volunteers from the mental health and education fields working collaboratively to provide improved services and supports for vulnerable children and youth. Educators, mental health partners, high school students, and parents are encouraged to apply. Read more and apply on the CDE 2022 Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup Application web page External link opens in new window or tab. by January 28.

$500 Stipend Opportunity for Teacher Coaches—Deadline February 1

This spring, the STEAM Team at CDE Foundation External link opens in new window or tab. is excited to bring back its Teacher Coach Professional Learning Community Program, which includes a $500 stipend for active participation. Learn more and complete the 10-minute application today at the CDE Foundation California STEAM Symposium web page External link opens in new window or tab.. This is an asset-based, peer-led professional learning community specifically designed for coaches of educators. The application deadline is February 1, 2022, at 11:59 p.m.

Pivotal Practice Award—Deadline February 11

Applications for the California Pivotal Practice Award Program for 2022 are now open. As part of the CDE's California School Recognition Program, this is one of many ways we can celebrate excellence in education and honor exemplary schools, districts, teachers, students, and classified employees.

The award is being utilized by California in 2022 in place of the California Distinguished Schools Program to celebrate districts and schools that have completed an online application highlighting an innovative practice that was implemented during the 2020–21 school year, when California required schools to offer distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are due on February 11, 2022.

More information about the Award is available on the CDE California Pivotal Practice Program web page. If you have any questions about the program, please contact the Awards Unit at

Nominations Open for California High School Counselor Award—Deadline February 28

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 his or her 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's Arthur S. Marmaduke High School Counselor Award web page External link opens in new window or tab., and the deadline to apply is February 28, 2022.


Congratulations to California Purple Star Schools

On January 24, State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced that 31 schools have been designated as Purple Star Schools. The newly created California Purple Star School Designation Program (Purple Star Program) publicly recognizes schools that are committed and equipped to meet the unique needs of military-connected students and their families. Purple Star Program schools seek to reduce the burdens on military-connected students and their families by providing support, creating transition programs, and offering staff professional development. This is the first year that schools are being recognized for this award, and the CDE plans to make it an annual recognition program. Read more to see which schools were recognized in the CDE Purple Star Schools news release.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Human Trafficking Prevention Month

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and you can help end trafficking by bringing awareness to these crimes. If you have a tip about a potential trafficking situation, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888. Learn more on the FBI Human Trafficking web page External link opens in new window or tab.. The CDE Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children web page has more information and resources on prevention and education.

The Great Kindness Challenge (January 24–28)

Last day to participate! The CDE, in partnership with the Great Kindness Challenge (GKC), encourages all teachers, staff, and students of child care centers, preschools, and schools to participate in the GKC the week of January 24–28. The GKC, presented by Kids for Peace, is a global, proactive, bullying-prevention initiative that educators and students can use to create a culture of kindness. Using a customizable kindness checklist, every student has an opportunity to practice kindness and make a positive impact. Read more and participate via the GKC website External link opens in new window or tab..

Presidents’ Day (February 21)

The CDE will be closed Monday, February 21, in honor of Presidents’ Day, a California public school holiday and state holiday.

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The CDE is committed to improving communications with more than a thousand school districts and county offices and 10,000-plus schools. 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, January 28, 2022
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