Dec. 10th
Debra Duardo, M.S.W., Ed.D.
Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools

Every day in LA County, some 75,000 teachers dedicate themselves to helping students reach their full potential, a vocation severely impacted by the current public health crisis.

Educators have evolved their practice and adapted to distance learning, using new tools and strategies to reach students. LACOE and our philanthropic arm, Greater LA, aim to harness this new capacity to meet students' academic and social-emotional needs during COVID and beyond.

I am excited to announce our launch of the Teachers of the Year Innovative Grant Initiative to invest in promising strategies and programs, with a focus on those that are benefiting low-income and other vulnerable students.

The effort also involves creation of a Teaching & Learning Resource Hub to promote best practices and replicable strategies.

Please see more information below with links to details about this exciting new initiative and investment in approaches that are making a difference our students most in need.
Public Health Update

  • LA County Holiday Home Test Collection: LA County with Fulgent Genetics is offering free COVID-19 home tests to residents from Dec. 1 to Jan. 15. This is the same test offered at the county’s drive-up or walk-up community testing sites. More information at COVID-19: LA County At-Home Holiday Testing.
Board of Education Meetings
The LA County Department of Public Health strongly recommends that school board meetings be conducted virtually, especially now that there is an order prohibiting public gatherings with individuals who do not live in the same household.

If a school board meets in person, all school board meetings must be limited to 15 people. All safety requirements of masks, social distancing and seating six feet apart must be observed. No food or drink is allowed.

While these meetings are permissible with the stated safety conditions, DPH recommends that meetings be conducted virtually. A school board ought to evaluate what specifically about the meeting requires it to be conducted in person.

Many of the Brown Act provisions regarding teleconferencing have been lifted by Executive Order. If a district has questions regarding board meeting requirements, please contact LACOE's Office of General Counsel at (562) 922-6123.
Budget & Finance
COVID-19 relief proposals:

Congressional leaders are continuing efforts to strike a deal on additional COVID-19 relief that could be tacked onto a forthcoming omnibus spending measure. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated that he is willing to drop demands for liability protections if Democrats would do the same for additional state and local aid. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) were not receptive to this proposal.

The bipartisan proposal’s summary includes the following for education:

  • $82 billion for education providers similar to the CARES Act with provisions including funding for:  
  • CARES Act Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund, including funds for private schools 
  • Elementary and Secondary School (K-12) Emergency Relief Fund 
  • Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund 
  • Including set-aside for minority-serving institutions, development institutions and institutions with greatest unmet needs 
  • Relief for territories and Bureau of Indian Education 

In addition, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that he presented a $916 billion counteroffer to Democratic leadership, which includes funding for $600 direct economic impact payments in lieu of a renewing the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program at $300 per week. Officials are expected to continue negotiations in the coming days.
Child Care
ECE community call on Dec. 11:

The LA County Early Childhood Education COVID-19 Response Team will hold a community call on Friday, Dec. 11, from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Topics include health and safety guidance for ECE providers, rapid response employment services for ECE providers, availability of supplies to operate safely and launch of childcareheroes.org as a resource for providers and parents. There will be an opportunity for questions and answers.

Register here or dial 1-877-309-2074 with code 153-080-465. 

For more information, please email ECECovidResponse@lacoe.edu or visit childcareheroes.org.
Communications Toolkit
As a reminder, a LACOE-developed toolkit offers a wealth of resources for districts in communicating with stakeholders. Included are templates for messages on a variety of topics pertinent to COVID-19 and school reopening/closure as well as social media assets, signs, posters and other communications resources.

Curriculum & Instruction
No-cost webinar on California State Seal of Civic Engagement — Wed., Dec. 16, 3:30-4:30 pm
 
LACOE and the California Dept. of Education will present a webinar on the State Seal of Civic Engagement, which is intended to create pathways for elementary and secondary students to become civically engaged in democratic governmental institutions at all levels.

AB 24 called on the CDE to develop a set of criteria to award students who have demonstrated excellence in civic education. This no-cost webinar will present the adopted criteria for the Seal, information on student eligibility, how to apply for the Seal and resources to support implementation in schools and districts.

Presenters: Michelle Herczog, Ed.D., LACOE History-Social Science coordinator, and Sarah Smith, CDE educational programs assistant


For information, email Dr. Michelle Herczog at herczog_michelle@lacoe.edu.
Foster Youth
FAFSA Challenge: 
 
One of the most common and solvable barriers to attending post-secondary education is the ability to pay for it. Please join LACOE Foster Youth Services and the nonprofit John Burton Advocates for Youth in the California Foster Youth FAFSA Challenge. 
 
This campaign brings together school districts, community-based organizations, child welfare agencies, Independent Living Programs, probation and local colleges to support high school seniors in the foster care system in completing applications for financial aid. These include the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application as well as the Chafee Grant Application, which can provide up to $5,000 in additional funding to eligible students in the foster care system. 
 
Click here for promising practices, toolkits and resources to support this effort. Help us reach LA County’s goal of a 70% completion rate.
 
Upcoming LACOE Foster Youth Services webinar for caregivers:

Understanding and Addressing Student Behavior — English & Spanish (Two-Part Webinar)
Part I: Tues., Dec. 15, 9-11:30 am
Part II: Thurs., Dec. 17, 9-11:30 am

State Budget
2021-22 Budget Blueprint:

Assembly Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) on Dec. 10 released his 2021-22 Budget Blueprint. The following are education components of the blueprint:

  • Repay school and community college deferrals 
  • Restore one-time funding 2020 cuts to UC, CSU, Courts, Housing, Child Support 
  • Safely reopen K-12 schools and target education funding to prevent learning loss 
  • Implement TK-for-all 4-year-old children beginning in 2021, and increase rates for all early childhood education providers facing increased costs due to COVID-19 
  • Increase financial aid and basic needs support that allows California college students to stay in school and complete their degree on time
Teacher Grants
LACOE and its philanthropic arm, Greater LA, have launched the Teacher of the Year Equitable Innovation Grant initiative to invest $50,000 in teacher-led solutions to support students who have been most affected by the pandemic.

The program will support and spotlight the incredible efforts that teachers make on behalf of their students every day. The grant opportunity is open to all educators in LA County’s public schools. Individual applicants can apply for up to $1,500. Teams of up to three are eligible to apply for a maximum of $4,500 ($1,500 each).

A Teaching and Learning Resource Hub for all LA County educators will support the initiative with best practices, resources and replicable strategies from former Teachers of the Year, experts and other county educators. Learn more at www.lacoe.edu/learninghub or @LosAngelesCOE.
Resources for Districts & Schools
Risk Is Real campaign (LA County) click here

Health & Safety Guidebook (CCEE) click here

Wide Open School (Common Sense Media) click here

Expanded Learning Resources (LACOE) click here