September 2020
SDCOE's COVID-19 Resources
The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) continues updating its dedicated COVID-19 website with resources and materials to assist administrators, educators, and families. Some of the items are highlighted below.

Check the site regularly for new information, and share the link with your school community. Contact with any questions or comments.
SDCOE-Created Units of Study

Teachers can get a head start with units of study written by SDCOE's content experts to supplement their core curriculum for the first eight to 10 weeks of the new school year. Over the summer, our curriculum and instruction team spent hundreds of hours pouring through state standards in all content areas for all grade levels and came up with essential learnings for students. Use them as a jump start and as a model for future planning.

We know there was learning loss over the spring, and teachers will have less time in face-to-face learning with students, so these K-12 units of study are integrated across content areas, rigorous, designed to accelerate learning in a short amount of time, and include social and emotional check-ins. Teachers can download the units, customize them, and upload them into their district's learning management system.
Distance Learning

There are a lot of distance learning resources out there for teachers and parents, but here are a few that are created and curated by SDCOE.

  • Learning at Home Bingo: Find every Learning at Home Bingo in one place, so teachers and parents can connect learning to real-world experiences. Developed by SDCOE curriculum and instruction experts in partnership with The San Diego Union-Tribune, these activities help students from kindergarten to high school take a break from the screen.

  • My Favorite Distance Learning Resource: SDCOE curriculum and instruction experts share short videos on their favorite distance learning instructional tool and how you can use it to support your students' learning these short videos

  • Free Webinars About Distance Teaching: SDCOE has more than 100, bite-sized distance learning webinars available on demand. Contact Staci Block with any questions.

  • Resources by Content Area: This growing list of resources is separated by subject area making it easier to find what you're looking for quickly. Explore instructional resources by content area, including career technical education, world languages, English learner, and library media services. 

  • Social-Emotional Learning: This list of social-emotional learning resources contains tools focused on helping students relieve anxiety, build relationships, and prioritize physical and emotional well-being during distance learning.
Hone Your Zoom Skills

As Zoom continues to be an essential part of the new learning environment, make sure you are skilled in how to take advantage of all its features. SDCOE has created a Zoom training playlist on its YouTube channel. Browse 11 different videos from beginning to advanced to hone your remote teaching skills.

The SDCOE COVID-19 website features additional resources, such as simple PDF guides to walk you through learning the basics of the platform.
Free Virtual Summit for Students on Suicide Prevention
Living Works
Middle and high school students can check out a free virtual summit on suicide prevention. The LivingWorks Youth Summit from 1 to 2 p.m. Sept. 15 will raise awareness of the role suicide prevention training can play in schools and include performances and motivational speeches from singer Tate McRae and inspirational content creator Lavendaire, among others.

Learn more about the LivingWorks Youth Summit. A registration code for the free event will be released by the California Department of Education closer to the event date.

Earlier this year, San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold joined California Department of Education State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in partnership with LivingWorks, to announce the launch of a free online suicide prevention training program available to middle and high school staff and students throughout the state.
SDG&E, DonorsChoose Match Program Helps Fund Teacher Projects
Through a partnership with DonorsChoose, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has set aside $250,000 of shareholder funding to match donations that help support local teachers with distance learning and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) projects.

Teacher STEM and distance learning projects of $1,000 or less at schools within SDG&E's service territory in San Diego County are eligible to receive matching funds from SDG&E on the DonorsChoose platform. In support of equity for schools in disadvantaged communities, SDG&E will provide a double match for eligible teacher projects at schools in disadvantaged communities as determined by CalEnviroScreen.

This is the third year of SDG&E's partnership with DonorsChoose to support teachers in the San Diego region. This year, the program has expanded to support teachers with new needs caused by the pandemic, such as supplies that can no longer be shared among students and equipment needed to enhance distance learning.

Download an informational flyer. Teachers can visit the DonorsChoose website to apply, and also view the matched projects at The match program will run until funds are exhausted or through Dec. 31.
Contribute Feedback on CTE Essential Skills Rubrics
Teachers and school leaders are among the members of the public who have an opportunity to help shape rubrics focused on essential skills students need to be successful in work and school.

SDCOE, in collaboration with the San Diego Workforce Partnership, are developing draft rubrics and an informational poster to support student growth in the classroom as well as the workplace, helping to set clear expectations for instruction, internships, mentorships, project-based learning, and more.

The public is invited to provide feedback on the criteria listed in the draft rubric to ensure that the essential skills are captured in a meaningful way while also giving students clarity on what it means to have these skills. Review the rubrics and comment. The public comment period runs through Sept. 18.
Census 2020: Getting Students Involved
Back-to-School Census Toolkit

NALEO Educational Fund has resources directed at educators and school administrators to help motivate Latino families to complete their census forms before the Sept. 30 deadline.

The ¡Hazme Contar! back-to-school toolkit focuses on the importance of counting all children in the household, and contains bilingual messaging and talking points, sample social media templates, and videos. Visit the NALEO webpage to learn more about this campaign. Click here to view and download the toolkit.
SIS Fun Facts Learning Tool

The U.S. Census Bureau has created a free educational program, Statistics in Schools (SIS), for use in every classroom from pre-K through 12th grade. SIS uses Census Bureau data to create activities, materials, and resources to enhance learning across a variety of subjects.

Fun Facts are student-friendly fact sheets that tie statistics from the census to holidays, anniversaries, and other observances. They can easily be used for learning at home by students in all grade levels and across different subjects. View and download the Back-to-School Fun Facts sheet and teaching guide. View all of the available Fun Facts sheets.
Free Virtual Conferences for Educators
Racial Justice in Schools

Faculty from the University of San Diego and Roger Williams University have collaborated to develop guides specifically for teachers and administrators about how to approach racial justice in the classroom and throughout the wider school community.

As a companion to the guidebooks, there are two free panel events for the K-12 school community. The Sept. 2 panel is for administrators and leaders, and the Sept. 5 panel is aimed at teachers. Click the panel links for more details, including links to register and to download the companion guidebooks. Contact Melissa Burgess with any questions.
SDCOE Career Pathways Conference

Local educators can get free registration for the upcoming Go Virtual! Career Pathways Conference, which will offer opportunities to find new strategies for high-quality career-ready instruction in classes impacted by COVID-19.

The conference, hosted by SDCOE, will feature breakout sessions and keynote presentations from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15. Registration is open now as is the call for presenters. The deadline for presenter submissions is Sept. 10. Contact Lydia Campos with any questions.
Connect with Nature Online
SDCOE's Outdoor Education department is creating a virtual learning space at the East County Regional Education Center to be able to conduct live, interactive, videoconferencing programs.

The department is gearing up to provide an engaging, alternative, instructional format of the Splash Science Lab, the Green Machine, and new programming. One- to four-hour block schedules will be offered to K to 8 classes throughout the county. The virtual learning option will mirror the content and level of engagement of the onsite programs. The new virtual programs will be available to be scheduled by early October.

Visit each program's webpage using the links above for sign-up information, coming soon! For questions, contact or 858-290-5986.
Free Resources for Fire and Burn Prevention
The Burn Institute offers free fire and burn-prevention programs to students in grades K to 6. Fire Safe Kids is a 25-minute presentation currently being provided remotely and designed in a fun, interactive format to teach children about fire safety through video clips, music, and colorful illustrations.

Visit for more information and to request a free virtual presentation for your class. More educational tools are also available at The Burn Institute website.
Preparing Students for Success
Building Financial Literacy With Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement can help your students build their financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness with a collection of self-guided, digital activity sheets that teach about fundamental economic principles. Educators can register here to access the resources site.

Also, teachers and students are invited to the Sept. 17 Virtual Lunch and Learn Speaker Series discussion with Claude Jones, senior director of software engineering at Walmart Labs. Open to students in grades 6-12. Visit the program page to register or to access previous series.

For questions or more information on these and other Junior Achievement programs, contact Jenni Preciado.
ECEDC Manufacturing Expo

The East County Economic Development Council invites students, families, educators, and everyone interested in manufacturing to its 2020 Manufacturing Expo.

The Oct. 1 virtual event will take participants through an expo-hall experience and virtual scavenger hunt, with an opportunity to meet East County-based manufacturing companies, learn about what they do, attend business panels and resume building workshops, and explore career opportunities.

Visit the event registration page. For questions, contact
Youth Ambassadors Help County Prepare for Emergencies
Through the CA for All Listos California grant, the County of San Diego recently launched the Youth Emergency Readiness Ambassador (YERA) program to help spread emergency preparedness and public health safety information to hard-to-reach youth throughout the county.

Over the past month, 22 student youth ambassadors, ages 16 to 21, have worked in regional teams to develop outreach materials to share COVID-19 information and resources, general disaster and wildfire preparedness, Community Emergency Response Team programs, and Child Welfare Services resources.

The overall goal of the YERA program is to create a more resilient San Diego County by increasing the number of prepared, hard-to-reach youth in the county through age- and culturally-appropriate outreach carried about by their peers.

For more information on the YERA program, and to see what the regional youth groups have been producing as part of their outreach, visit or email
Peace and Kindness Activities to Do at Home
The Great Toy Giveaway

The Great Kindness Challenge is launching its second year of The Great Toy Giveaway, with help from The Toy Foundation. This program provides students the opportunity to put their compassion into action by being involved with distributing donated toys to children in need.

Two truckloads of toys are ready, and will be distributed as soon as it is safe. In the meantime, students are invited to write colorful notes of friendship that will be attached to each toy. With this personal touch, students everywhere can be part of this uplifting program to bring joy and comfort to children and families who need it the most. Visit this webpage to learn more. Notes must be mailed in by Sept. 30.
Linked by Love

Kids for Peace invites students and their families to come together to share messages of love and hope while setting a record for the world’s longest paper-chain ever.

Once people are allowed to gather in groups, the chain will be assembled and officially measured for the Guinness World Record before it is cut into sections to display in hospitals, senior centers, libraries, and more. Visit the program page for details on the various ways to participate and step-by-step instructions for how to create the paper links. Submissions are due Jan. 5, 2021.
San Diego Family Magazine September Digital Issue
San Diego Family Magazine is helping parents navigate the back-to-school season with its September digital issue.

Find these helpful articles, and more:
  • Survival Tips for Distance Learning
  • The Extra (curricular) Importance of Enrichment This Fall
  • Life in Quarantine: What Will the Kids Remember?
  • Your Child's Education - Steps to Meaningful Student Engagement

Flip through the digital edition. More ideas and resources are available at
Grant Opportunities ribbon icon
Grant and Award Opportunities for Educators
CHS Foundation Classroom Grant

CHS Foundation and National Agriculture in the Classroom are offering grants of $500 to PreK-12 teachers to enhance student understanding of agriculture by incorporating agricultural lessons into the core curriculum. Funding is intended for materials necessary for projects related to agriculture, gardening, and other related topics. Teachers may propose creative classroom projects that use agricultural concepts to teach reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and more. Because of COVID-19 school closures, grant applicants may apply for projects that use a virtual approach. Applications are due Sept. 15. Teachers have until next June to complete their project. Visit the grant webpage for more information.
North Island Credit Union Teacher Grant
North Island Credit Union, a division of California Credit Union, invites all San Diego area teachers who have a class project idea to apply for a grant through its biannual Teacher Grant Program. 
Any full-time classroom teacher in San Diego County can apply. The program is designed to assist educators in funding innovative learning opportunities, including programs to support their students during distance learning. Ten grants of $500 each will be awarded in November. The application deadline is Oct. 2. Visit for more details and to apply.
NSBA Magna Awards

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Magna Awards recognize school districts for programs that showcase exemplary school district leadership, creativity, and commitment to student achievement. Priority will be given to school districts that help underserved children succeed. The 2021 program will focus on equity in education and recognize district programs that remove barriers to achievement for vulnerable or underserved children. Three grand prize winners will showcase their winning programs at a special master class session during NSBA’s 2021 annual conference next April. All winning districts will be featured in the April issue of American School Board Journal. The application deadlines is Oct. 30. Visit the grant web page for more information.
Scholarship and Award Opportunities for Students
Vote Safer Student Art Project

High school students with an interest in art and graphic design are invited to participate in the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Vote Safer San Diego public service announcement project. The goal is to use artwork to inform the public on how to vote safer during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Nov. 3 general election. Students with selected submissions will get the unique opportunity to have their work professionally published and featured in county websites and social media channels. View the project details and guidelines. Final designs are due Sept. 9 by 5 p.m.
Districts Make the Difference Video Contest

The California Special Districts Association is looking for high school students to create a short video highlighting the ways special districts make a difference in California. Five finalists can compete for a chance to win up to $2,000, and $500 will also be awarded to the teachers of the winners. The application deadline is Sept. 30. Visit the contest web page for full details.
BBB Ethical Torch Essay Scholarship
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) will award five scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,500 to rising students in grades 9-12 who submit an essay about the importance of ethics and integrity in the community. The application deadline is Oct. 2. Visit the BBB scholarships page for more information
Stay Aware of the Latest Opportunities With What's Happening
Spread the word about free and low-cost resources and opportunities for teachers and students, especially during these uncertain times, by sharing What's Happening with your colleagues. You can send them this link to sign up to have it delivered straight to their inbox each month. They can also email and ask to be added to the mailing list.
Have feedback on What's Happening? Email the San Diego County Office of Education Communications department:
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