Dec. 3rd
Debra Duardo, M.S.W., Ed.D.
Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools

Before we went on Thanksgiving break, we were hopeful that communities would not gather for the holiday and adhere to Public Health's safety measures and protocols.

Unfortunately, we are now experiencing an alarming surge in COVID cases in our county, state and nation.

This is an increasingly challenging and frustrating time for all of us. We are eager to re-open our campuses and have been planning for that day since last spring when we were first forced to close them.

Right now, we should consider redirecting some of our efforts to helping slow the spread of the coronavirus. LA County schools can reach a huge audience of 1.5 million students and their families.

Please take a look at a new campaign highlighted below called #TheRiskIsReal that targets teens and young adults. It offers resources you can share in your newsletters, websites and social media.
Public Health Update

  • Decision to close a school due to an outbreak: as per consultation with LA County Public Health Acute Communicable Disease Control

  • New CDC guidance regarding shortened quarantine: 
  • CDC still recommends 14-day quarantine 
  • CDC has not changed/replaced 14-day quarantine, but has provided options to reduce quarantine (alternatives): 
  • 10 days without testing, but still self-monitor for symptoms up to 14 days 
  • 7 days with negative test, still self-monitor through 14 days 
  • Shortened quarantine based on probability
  • LA County will continue 14-day quarantine. The CDC guidance must be reviewed by the California Dept. of Public Health and then LA County Public Health before any alternative options may be adopted.

  • Question: Is it still the case that at a given site the students in the daycare cohorts and the students in the in-class cohorts are allowed to contain different individuals? 
  • Yes. A student can be in a child care cohort and be in one academic cohort 

  • Request from LA County Public Health: Reminder, NO school holiday parties or potlucks. No gatherings – private or public. Gatherings with people outside of your household are not allowed per the Safer at Home order and are risky behavior, especially if eating and face masks are not worn.
Accountability, Support & Monitoring
California School Dashboard:

This month, the CDE will release the California School Dashboard reports. The 2020 Dashboard will be published with demographic information only and thus will not be used for accountability purposes. It will not include state or local indicator data. As approved last year, local indicators will be aligned to the LCAP cycle so, at this time, LEAs should be considering how to collect 2020-21 local indicator data for reporting with their LCAPs in June. The self-reflection tools for the local indicators have not changed and can be found on the CDE website.

New CAASPP testing blueprints:

The CDE, in consultation with Smarter Balanced and assessment contractor Educational Testing Service, has revised the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English Language Arts and mathematics blueprints to offer short forms for the summative assessments. The aim is to reduce testing time and the burden on students and teachers during this unusual year. The California Science Test, California Alternate Assessments and the Summative ELPAC will NOT have shortened blueprints. 

The spring 2021 administration of the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments should allow flexibility for LEAs to use multiple administration options to best meet the needs of students and families given their local context. Further guidance to assist students, parents, guardians and educators for the administration of assessments will be provided through pretest workshops and trainings. LEAs will have three options from which to choose when determining how to administer the test: (1) in-person or co-located, (2) remote computer-based and (3) remote paper–pencil. 
 
The short-form blueprints were derived from adopted Smarter Balanced full-form blueprints. The Computer Adaptive Test portion of the blueprint is being reduced by approximately 50 percent in each claim. Given that performance tasks are designed to be integrated tasks, the blueprints associated with these tasks have not been adjusted. The validity argument for the short-form blueprint is based on the premise that the short-form blueprint has comparable proportional allocation of content across the claims while also maintaining the same proportion of depth of knowledge. 

As designed, the short forms can provide overall results comparable to the full forms with little loss of precision when evaluating the performance of schools or LEAs. 

Individual student scale scores will be reported. However, the individual student scale scores will be less precise than scores from the full forms; therefore, individual claim scores will not be reported at the student level. Although the precision for the total score of the test will be less, scale scores may still be comparable to those of prior years. The CDE will perform analyses to make comparisons between 2019 and the 2021 spring administrations.

Moving to a reduced blueprint will delay the release of the English Language Arts and mathematics assessments and require LEAs to adjust their testing windows accordingly.
Child Care
New website:

The LA County Early Childhood Education COVID-19 Response Team has released the new www.childcareheroes.org website to help early childhood educators safely provide critical services to children and families during the pandemic. It also gives families information on safely sending their children back to child care. LACOE is a member of the response team. 

The new website helps early childhood educators understand guidance and provides best practices for how to adapt their programs and activities to serve children and families safely. It includes information and resources to implement the specific guidance, ensure maximum health and safety of children and staff and continue to offer high-quality care and education. It also provides information for families to understand and follow the guidance when sending their children to child care.

Curriculum & Instruction
Taking Virtual Strategies from Video Games and Social Media — free workshop:


Interacting online is new to most teachers, but entertainers like gaming broadcasters have been honing technology and engagement methods for that purpose for more than a decade. In this workshop participants will discuss the “advantages” of the virtual classroom and learn how to make their video lessons more dynamic and engaging. Participants will also receive practical guidance on setting up and using applicable software to implement what has been discussed.

Workshop leader Noah Kalb has been an educator for more than a decade, teaching a variety of subjects and working as an administrator for informal education programs that teach life skills and address STEM topics. He has also spent years as a professional video game broadcaster, publishing hundreds of videos on YouTube and working on gaming tournaments in live television studios.
Expanded Learning
Expanded Learning programs (K-12 schools funded with 21st CCLC, ASES and/or ASSETs grants) may continue to welcome students for in-person on-campus programming and remain open while following health and safety protocols. If there is a COVID outbreak within the Expanded Learning Program of three or more linked cases, then the program must close for 14 days.

If you need support from LACOE’s Expanded Learning Technical Assistance Unit, contact Dr. Michelle Perrenoud at 562-824-2625 or at perrenoud_michelle@lacoe.edu.

Federal Action on School Finance & Liability
A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers released on Dec. 1 a new COVID-19 relief proposal as negotiations at the leadership level remain at a standstill. The roughly $908 billion legislation is championed by members of the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, as well as a Senate working group consisting of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Angus King (I-ME) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA). 

While the details of the legislation are subject to change pending the measure’s official introduction, the framework includes: a short-term moratorium on some pandemic-related lawsuits; $288 billion in support for small businesses; $160 billion in state and local aid; $180 billion for a renewal of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program with an extra $300 per week; $16 billion for health care needs such as testing, tracing and vaccine distribution; $35 billion for the Health Provider Relief Fund; $10 billion toward child care; $25 billion toward rental assistance; $10 billion for broadband support; $82 billion for education-related needs; $26 billion for nutrition and agriculture; $45 billion for transit agencies; $5 billion toward opioid treatment; $12 billion toward community lender support; $4 billion for student loan relief; and $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has also circulated an updated draft of his targeted pandemic relief legislation that outlines nearly $500 billion in aid. Key details in McConnell's updated bill include: $332.7 billion toward another round of Paycheck Protection Program funding; "SAFE TO WORK" liability protections for businesses and schools; extension of Coronavirus Relief Funds to Dec. 30, 2022 – no additional flexibility or funding; one-month extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program; $31 billion toward vaccines and therapeutics; $20 billion for farm assistance; $16 billion for COVID-19 testing and tracing; $10 billion for "Back to Work" child-care grants; $105 billion for education; 
$10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service; $5 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants; and  
establishing a new grant program for live venues and theaters.
Foster Youth
New Guide — Supporting School Stability for Youth in Foster Care: 

Members of the School Stability subcommittee of the California Foster Youth Education Task Force (including county offices of education, CDE/district representatives and advocates) recognize this period of distance learning as a key time to address the school stability rights of youth in foster care. That's why they've created the new guide, “Supporting School Stability for Youth in Foster Care During Virtual Learning and the Transition Back to In-Person Instruction.”

The guide is intended to help child welfare workers, probation officers, LEAs, youth, education rights holders and caregivers as they navigate school-of-origin decisions. It includes guidance and suggestions around:

  • Who makes the school-of-origin decision; 
  • Key considerations for best-interest determination meetings when virtual instruction is involved; 
  • Tips, roles and responsibilities for supporting youth in their home placements during virtual instruction; and 
  • Dispute resolution.

 
Tutoring resources for students in foster care:

Please click here to access a list of resources to assist students in foster care with tutoring services. Resources include a collaboration between IFoster and Learn To Be  (see page 1). 
 
FosterClub:

Celeste Bodner founded FosterClub in 2000 after becoming a foster parent to two young brothers who had been hiding out in the shed behind her home. The club was designed to help fill the gap that Bodner saw for youth in foster care. Today, the club has more than 44,000 members and its peer leaders have provided training to over 2,500 foster youth. Many have become advocates for change in foster care policies. FosterClub also provides scholarships for students in foster care. 

 
Upcoming LACOE Foster Youth Services meetings & webinars:

Human Resources
Cal-OSHA has recently implemented new COVID-related regulations that will apply to school districts. Questions or concerns regarding these new regulations may be directed to HRSLABORRELATIONSSTAFF@LACOE.EDU
Nutrition and Meal Service
School districts that are required to collect alternative household income forms to establish student free and reduced meal eligibility have the option to collect the required information over the telephone. For more information, please refer to the latest CDE guidance on 2020-21 Requirements for Collecting Free and Reduced-Price Meal Eligibility Data Used to Determine Supplemental and Concentration Grant Funding.
'Risk Is Real' Campaign
When it comes to COVID-19, the risk is real — even for teens and young adults. The LA County Joint Information Center’s #RiskIsReal campaign offers great visuals, videos and social media assets that highlight young student leaders and social media influencers spreading the word about playing it safe as the pandemic continues its deadly surge.

The latest participants in this grassroots messaging campaign are students from Franklin High School, pictured here as well as on 45 digital billboards across the county. 

Please share content from the #RiskIsReal toolkit in your newsletters, websites and social media

Questions? Contact Judith Green of the JIC’s Special Projects Branch at JGreen2@pubdef.lacounty.gov
State Budget
The Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report on Dec. 1 titled With New Deficits Looming, California Will Weigh its Options for Allocating a Large Revenue Windfall. In the report, the LAO states that the legislature may want to consider dedicating about $13 billion, or about half of the anticipated windfall, to restoring the state’s fiscal resilience.

Along with restoration of budget resilience, the LAO states that the legislature could direct the balance of the windfall to “a more robust pandemic counteroffensive than was feasible in the spring. These one-time resources would be particularly well-suited to provide near-term mitigation of various public health, economic, and educational harms caused by the pandemic.”
Resources for Districts & Schools
Everyone On: low-cost internet access click here

Tools for Teachers (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) click here

Keep Learning California (Attendance Works, Families in Schools, PIQE) click here

Distance Learning Open Educational Resources (LACOE) click here