Feb. 18th
Debra Duardo, M.S.W., Ed.D.
Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools

I'm so encouraged by the news earlier this week that LA County has reached the threshold in COVID case rates to allow our elementary schools to reopen for in-person instruction.

Case rates are one element of the school reopening process. Our districts must address safety measures and other considerations to return students and staff to school campuses.

Prioritizing educators for the vaccine is critical as our districts work with their labor partners to safely reopen campuses.

LACOE remains committed to guiding and supporting our 80 districts in addressing the impact of COVID in the second half of the school year and beyond. This includes identifying interventions to address learning loss and working with districts to develop protocols to safely celebrate the class of 2021.
Public Health Update
School opening vs. cohorts:
  • School opening = general in-person instruction is offered in at least one grade level using stable classroom groups 
  • Cohorts = in California, the offering of in-person targeted instruction/services/support for students with special needs

Group size: 
  • Stable classroom — for general in-person instruction, there is no maximum number of students per classroom as it is based on classroom space, allowing for 6-foot distancing
  • Cohort – maximum 14 students and 2 adults (total 16 people)

Role of CDC, CDPH and LACDPH: 
  • The Centers for Disease Control is a nonregulatory body that provides strategies and recommendations to inform state guidelines
  • CDC recommendations are reviewed by the California and Los Angeles County Departments of Public Health for consideration

Bus transportation: 
  • Measures are in place to ensure physical distancing of students on school buses. These measures must include (check all that apply): 
  • A maximum of one child per bus seat 
  • Face coverings required at all times 
  • Use of alternating rows (strongly recommended but not required) 
  • Open windows (if air quality and rider safety concerns allow, especially if alternating rows is not implemented) 
  • Staggered school start times to permit more than one trip per bus at school start and close

Accountability, Support & Monitoring
At the January 2020 State Board of Education meeting, SBE revised the timeline for Local Indicator submission. LEAs are required to "Report the results as part of a non-consent item at a regularly scheduled public meeting of the local governing board/body in conjunction with the adoption of the LCAP."

Last year (2019-20), due to the COVID-related context, LEAs were not required to submit Local Indicator information, and the California School Dashboard was not published for accountability purposes. 
On Feb. 11, 2021, the CDE held a webinar to discuss Local Indicators and their connection with the submission of the LCAP. Local Indicator Process Information 

The following is the timeline for preparation and submission of the indicators: 
Reminder: The CDE hosts weekly accountability information sessions. Information about those sessions and archived documents can be found here. 
Workshop 2: A Meaningful LCAP for Challenging Times — Tues., Feb. 23, 3-4:30 pm

This session will focus on how to make the new three-year LCAP a vehicle for meeting current and future challenges in responding to community needs and concerns, addressing learning loss and closing growing achievement gaps resulting from school closures. It will provide guidance and examples for developing a clear and actionable plan with actions that are comprehensible and can be evaluated for effectiveness.

The session will also review the requirement to demonstrate how actions meeting the increased or improved services requirement for low-income students, English learners and foster youth were designed based on the needs, conditions and circumstances of each of these student groups.

Child Care
Early Childhood Education community call on Feb. 19:

The LA County Early Childhood Education COVID-19 Response Team will hold a community call for ECE providers on Friday, Feb. 19, from 9-10 am. LA County Public Health and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles will provide an update on the COVID-19 vaccine for ECE providers. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers. Please register here.

For more information, contact ECECovidResponse@lacoe.edu or visit childcareheroes.org.
LACOE has developed several templates that can support districts in communicating with their community, including messaging about reopening, safety protocols, graphics and posters. They are translated into Spanish, Chinese and Armenian.

Curriculum & Instruction
Advancing Equity Leadership Series (offered in partnership with the Leadership Academy):
Primary audience: school site principals; secondary audience: district office administrators. LEAs with schools that meet the criteria for CSI are encouraged to register and participate.  
Dates: Feb. 23, March 9, April 6, May 4, May 18, June 15 — 2-5pm 
Cost: $300 per person for the six-module series (cost represents an $800 discount per participant for the six-part series) 
The Advancing Equity Leadership Series offers six sessions of professional learning designed to provide education leaders at the site and district levels with knowledge, strategies and resources to lead for equity during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The 3-hour facilitated sessions will cover:

  • Module 1 — Series Launch: Unpack ELO/self-assessment results; history of race and inequities in education; leadership dispositions 
  • Module 2 — Systems thinking and mental models 
  • Module 3 — Intersections of identity: race and culture 
  • Module 4 — Anti-racism in the context of school culture and climate; anti-hate and anti-blackness in leadership 
  • Module 5 — Implicit bias and bias-based beliefs in schools 
  • Module 6 — Series Wrap-Up: Culturally responsive leadership (to sustain and grow culturally responsive teaching and learning); engage in video observation of practice to “see” culturally responsive teaching and learning; where do we go from here?

LACOE’s Curriculum and Instructional Services division works to support schools and districts during distance learning and as they transition to a hybrid model of instruction. For assistance, contact CIS Director Danielle Mitchell at mitchell_danielle@lacoe.edu.
Foster Youth
Upcoming deadlines for FAFSA:

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid priority deadline of March 2 is fast approaching. Be sure to share the links below with your school sites on the upcoming financial aid, college and career pathways and outreach events that LACOE will be hosting.

Obtaining financial aid and college transition rates are historically low for students in foster care and even more so amid the pandemic. Let's work together to increase the number of students in foster care obtaining financial aid to attend college or learning about various career pathways.

State deadline: March 2, 2021 (postmarked) 
Federal deadline: June 30, 2021 (must be submitted by 11:59 pm CT) 
Reality, Equity & Justice: Creating an Educational System that Identifies and Removes Barriers to Improve Outcomes for Black Students in Foster Care and Beyond — 4-part series:

Join LACOE Foster Youth Services to dialogue and develop strategies with LACOE team members and the authors of the book, “White Evolution: The Constant Struggle for Racial Consciousness” to design inclusive, equitable educational systems.

Dates: Feb. 23, March 2, March 9, March 16 — 2:30-4 pm  
There is no cost to attend the series. Get more information and register.
State Budget
Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced an agreement on a package of immediate actions for relief to individuals, families and businesses suffering from the COVID-19 recession.

Separately, the Governor and legislative leaders said that discussions are continuing on measures for the safe reopening of the state’s K-12 schools, including strategies to address learning loss caused by the pandemic.

Below are key provisions of the Immediate Action Agreement.

Direct relief to individuals and families: 
The agreement provides $600 in one-time relief to households receiving the California EITC for 2020. In addition, the agreement provides a $600 one-time payment to taxpayers with Individual Tax Identification Numbers who were precluded from receiving the $1,200 per person federal payments issued last spring and the more recent $600 federal payments. The agreement would provide the $600 payments to households with ITINs and income below $75,000. ITIN taxpayers who also qualify for the California EITC would receive a total of $1,200. The payments will be provided to these households shortly after they file their 2020 tax returns.

Immediate relief for small businesses: 
The agreement reflects an increase – from $500 million to more than $2 billion – for grants up to $25,000 for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. It also allocates $50 million for cultural institutions.

Fee waivers for most impacted licensees: 
The agreement provides for two years of fee relief for roughly 59,000 restaurants and bars licensed through the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control that can range annually from $455 to $1,235. The agreement also reflects fee relief for more than 600,000 barbering and cosmetology individuals and businesses licensed through the Department of Consumer Affairs.

More resources for child care: 
The agreement adds just over $400 million in new federal funds that will provide stipends of $525 per enrolled child for all state-subsidized child care and preschool providers serving approximately 400,000 children in subsidized care statewide. The new federal resources will extend care for children of essential workers through June 2022. It funds increased access to subsidized child care for more than 8,000 children of essential workers and at-risk children — who are not currently served in the system — through June 2022.

Additional aid for individuals and families: 
The agreement provides an additional $24 million for financial assistance and services through Housing for the Harvest, a program to support agricultural workers who must quarantine due to COVID-19. The agreement also provides a combined $35 million for food banks and diapers.

Emergency financial relief to support community college students: 
The agreement provides an additional $100 million in emergency financial aid for qualifying low-income students carrying six or more units, with award amounts to be determined locally and made available by early April. The agreement also provides $20 million to reengage students who have either left their community college studies because of the pandemic or to engage students at risk of leaving.
CalFresh student outreach and application assistance: 
The agreement provides roughly $6 million to support outreach and application assistance to University of California, California State University and California community college students made newly eligible for CalFresh, the state-administered federal program for supplemental food assistance. The agreement also provides $12 million in state funds to support associated county administrative workload.
Resources for Districts & Schools
State of California Safe Schools For All Hub click here

Child Abuse Reporting Electronic System (DCFS) click here

Hot Topics in Technology & Pedagogy (Distance Learning Consortium) click here

The Field Guide: Accelerating Learning, Equity & Well-Being (CCEE) click here