Dear Community Members,
With the most recent data from public health officials, I am optimistic that the latest COVID-19 surge is winding down.
As the community opens up, I have been able to visit more schools and programs to see how in-person instruction is going and the impact of the pandemic on school operations.
This month, I had the opportunity to visit Crossroads High School in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, a program that serves pregnant and parenting teens and their children. This school and its students have a special place in my heart because 30-plus years ago, I was in their shoes. I was a teen mother trying to find my way.
That experience continues to impact the way I approach my work. Too many students in difficult situations fall through the cracks. Our safety net has too many holes and needs to be inspected and repaired. The students at Crossroads have a support system that provides important things like childcare and health clinics while they earn a high school diploma.
Crossroads is not the only school providing its students important resources; they exist all over this county. During the pandemic, those resources have become more robust with things like free meals and additional mental health offerings. We are heading in the right direction but have a lot more work to do to provide students and families with the resources they need to prevent the most vulnerable from falling through the cracks.
In this issue, you can read about some of the efforts the Contra Costa County Office of Education is taking to help schools and school districts provide much-needed resources to students. The Wellness in Schools Program (WISP), a partnership between CCCOE and county Behavioral Health, will provide more support for students who need mental health services. The county office is also serving as a Homeless Technical Assistance Center, lending expertise and resources to several other counties to support the unhoused students and families in their areas.
I hope you enjoy reading about these efforts. As always, feel free to send me your feedback on things you read here or any other issues of concern.