April 1st
Debra Duardo, M.S.W., Ed.D.
Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools

It is truly heartening that Los Angeles County has met the threshold for the less restrictive orange tier in California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. A revised County Health Officer Order will go into effect on Monday, April 5 to reflect newly permitted activities and reopenings.

More and more schools across the county are beginning to reopen. Some 4 million county residents — 40 percent of our population — have been vaccinated. That light at the end of the tunnel is certainly getting closer.

And while we can see normal life on the horizon, we are not there yet. Please continue to urge that our school communities follow the Public Health guidance on masking and social distancing. It is the best way to ensure we stay on this positive trajectory.
Public Health Update

Budget & Finance
President Biden released a $2.2 trillion infrastructure proposal on March 31 as part of his American Jobs Plan, which will be the first step of his American Rescue Plan “recovery” package.

According to a summary of the plan, the President is requesting an investment of $100 billion for providing affordable, reliable high-speed broadband to every American, including the more than 35 percent of rural Americans who lack access to broadband at minimally acceptable speeds. This investment is intended to build a high-speed broadband infrastructure to reach 100 percent coverage, promote price transparency and competition among internet providers, reduce the cost of broadband internet service and promote more widespread adoption.

The plan also invests $100 billion to upgrade and build new public schools through $50 billion in direct grants and an additional $50 billion leveraged through bonds. These funds will first go toward making sure schools are safe and healthy places of learning for students and work for teachers and other education professionals; for example, by improving indoor air quality and ventilation.
Under the President’s plan, better operating school facilities will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and become environments of community resilience with green space, clean air and safe places to gather, especially during emergencies. Funds also will be provided to improve school kitchens to better prepare nutritious meals for students and reduce or eliminate the use of paper plates and other disposable materials.

Biden is asking Congress to provide $25 billion to help upgrade child-care facilities and increase the supply of child care in areas that need it most. Funding would be provided through a Child Care Growth and Innovation Fund for states to build a supply of infant and toddler care in high-need areas.

Biden has also requested an expanded tax credit to encourage businesses to build child-care facilities at places of work. Employers will receive 50 percent of the first $1 million of construction costs per facility so that employees can enjoy the peace of mind and convenience that comes with on-site child care.
Expanded Learning
Expanded Learning Opportunities grant funding:

Through the passing of Assembly Bill 86, the California Legislature has made available $4.6 billion to LEAs for providing Expanded Learning opportunities. To be eligible for funding, LEAs must implement a learning recovery program that, at a minimum, provides supplemental instruction, support for social and emotional well-being and meals and snacks to specified student groups, as defined in Education Code Section 43522, who have faced adverse learning and social-emotional circumstances.

ELO grants shall be expended only for any of the following purposes: extending instructional learning time, accelerating progress to close learning gaps, integrated pupil supports, community learning hubs, supports for credit-deficient pupils, additional academic services and training for school staff.  
The grant application and instructions may be found here: LEA Template for the Plan

The Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant Plan must be completed by LEAs as a condition for receiving the grant. The ELO Plan must be adopted by the LEA’s governing body at a public meeting on or before June 1, 2021 and must be submitted to the county office of education (school districts) or the chartering authority (charter schools) within five days of adoption.

Additional information from the CDE, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the COVID-19 Relief and School Reopening Grants, may be accessed here.

To support collaboration between LEAs and either non-funded and/or existing ASES, 21st CCLC and ASSETs funded Expanded Learning programs, LACOE’s Expanded Learning Technical Assistance Unit has created an AB86 Planning Tool to assist with planning for and implementing expanded learning and summer activities related to AB86 and the ELO Expenditure Plan.

[43522. (h)Local educational agencies are encouraged to engage, plan, and collaborate on program operation with community partners and expanded learning programs, and leverage existing behavioral health partnerships and Medi-Cal billing options, in the design and implementation of services provided under this section.]

It is sensible and highly encouraged that LEAs optimize collaborative efforts with and provide additional funding from AB86 to existing ASES, 21st CCLC and ASSETs funded Expanded Learning programs to build on and broaden the reach of programs already in place. These programs have the infrastructure, experience and qualified staff to meet the Expanded Learning Opportunities section of AB86 efficiently and effectively.

For additional support, contact: Michelle R. Perrenoud, Ed.D., county lead, System of Support for Expanded Learning, perrenoud_michelle@lacoe.edu.
Foster Youth
LACOE's Foster Youth Services Program is sponsoring a three-day event on Courageous Conversation: Creating Equitable Environments for Youth in Foster Care. It will begin on April 6 and continue monthly (May 4 and June 1) through June.

Participants will learn how youth in foster care intersect with various other marginalized groups as students of color are a majority within the foster care system. Issues of systemic racism and explicit bias within schools that contribute to racial trauma and create inequitable environments will be discussed. The workshops will address equity, diversity and inclusion through a “lens of racial equity.” 

Learning Recovery & Acceleration
Learning Recovery & Acceleration Series:

LACOE has launched its Learning Recovery & Acceleration Series to help educators identify, share and implement best practices to mitigate losses and accelerate student learning and well-being.
The series is organized by six high-priority focus areas: student engagement, social emotional learning, academics, special populations, family/community engagement and operations/logistics.

Learning Accelerated — Navigating the CCEE Field Guide: Learning Acceleration and Teaching in Varied Modes, April 13, 12-1 pm:

Join LACOE’s Division of Curriculum and Instructional Services and the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence to build capacity to access and use the resources and tools found in the “CCEE Field Guide: Accelerating Learning, Equity, and Well-Being.” The guide provides LEAs with tools and resources to plan for a safe return to campus where student learning and social-emotional wellness take center stage. The guide is a dynamic collection of resources, tools and best practices curated from LEA partners and other educational contributors.

CCEE Deputy Executive Director Dr. Sujie Shin and Assistant Director of Professional Learning and Leadership Development Dr. James McKenna will navigate participants through the guide to build familiarity and fluency with the platform and its tools, resources and planning guides that support grading, academic interventions and secondary scheduling. The goal is for participants to understand how to use the Personalized Planning Guide to streamline curation of resources.

Nutrition & Meal Service
Grant opportunity:

Nourishing Neighbors, an initiative of the Albertsons Companies Foundation, has established a fund to help local families impacted by the current crisis. This new opportunity includes two priority areas: Summer Meals Grant and Connecting Families and Children to Federal Meal Programs.

The deadline to apply is April 12. The grant application invitation can be found here. Once logged in, select FRAC from the drop-down available in this section: “Please provide the name of the organization that nominated you for funding.” Use the code MEALS2021. Interested organizations can apply for both opportunities but must complete separate applications.
Resources for Districts & Schools
Addressing Anti-Asian Racism and Discrimination: Resources for Educators (LACOE) click here

CA Safe Schools for All Virtual Training Academy click here

Rising from COVID-19: Recovery, Resilience and Acceleration (LACOE) click here

Supporting the African American Learner (LACOE) click here