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September 25, 2020 Friday Letter Volume 2, No. 17
Posted 10/12/20

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SEPTEMBER 25, 2020 FRIDAY LETTER VOLUME 2, NO. 17



Superintendent Maintains Weekly Organizational Update

     We are proud to present to you transparent, detailed operations reports on a weekly basis. You can read department updates directly from our district leaders in Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark’s weekly Organizational Update to the Board, which is continuously archived for reference. Here is this week’s Organizational Update to the Board:

Organizational Update to the Board


Distance Learning Continues Amidst Pandemic

     While the considerations for a physical reopening of our schools are complex, the district's commitment is simple: MDUSD is committed to phasing into physical environments when and where the highest standards of health and safety can be achieved, consistent with public health orders. The planning dynamic is such that the Superintendent works at the direction of the Governing Board of Education, which in turn expects the Superintendent to develop plans to carry out its vision.

     Recent communication to this regard, including status updates and projections, can be witnessed in our public meetings—in a recent Board Meeting, the Superintendent shared out the concurrent context within which the district would not immediately seek a waiver to reopen elementary schools. Governing Board members do regularly relay their individual perspectives, and all share a common thread of deeply rooted empathy, a high sense of responsibility to protect the students and staff of the district, and a reaffirmed willingness to phase into physical environments when safely possible. 

     Ultimately, the state and county public health officials define the metrics by which the Governing Board can consider a physical reopening.When the district is able to phase in, it will be a united effort in proud partnership and collaboration with our employee unions and organizations. 

     Autumn officially began this week, and Mt. Diablo Unified School District completed its 29th day of school. Like the millions of others state-wide that are distance learning, we are finding both success and challenges. Even the most resilient and adaptive of us feel the immense weight of this pandemic that stirs us to recenter and refocus. MDUSD is indeed a strong community and is making the best with the given circumstances. 

     These are the most recent Contra Costa County pandemic statistics:
Information provided by Contra Costa Health Services

New Cases

 

     We are currently in Tier 1: Wide-spread (Purple) of the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In order for the county to move to down to Tier 1: Substantial (Red), our daily new cases (per 100k) must be between 4-7 and positive tests must be between 5-8%. If any county’s case rate and positivity rate fall into different tiers, the county remains in the stricter tier.


For Local Consideration: Governing Board Candidates

     An important transition is coming for our school district governance—two seats on our Governing Board will become available at the end of 2020, and local candidates are actively campaigning for election on regional ballots. 

     Dennis Chow, Keisha Nzewi, and Michael Schneider are the candidates for the Governing Board Trustee seat Area 3

     Erin McFerrin and Carol Trost are the candidates for the Governing Board Trustee seat Area 5.

      One special significance here is that this election will mark our completed transition from our former, "at-large," system—whereby each member of the Board was elected by the registered voters of the entire District (Education Code section 5030(a))—to a new, "by-trustee area," system—whereby Board members residing in each trustee area will be elected by the registered voters of that particular trustee area (Education Code 5030(b)). | Learn more about our transition to a by-trustee area election system. 

     This week, Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark and his executive cabinet hosted a Trustee Candidate Orientation, to which all candidates campaigning for MDUSD Governing Board seats were invited to tune in. The objective of this orientation was to provide a preliminary opportunity for candidates to familiarize themselves with district department roles, responsibilities, challenges, and goals.


Governing Board Candidates to Attend Virtual Forums

Information courtesy of the Mt. Diablo Council of PTAs

     The CCC Library and the Diablo Valley League of Women Voters are hosting free, virtual forums for MDUSD Area 3 and Area 5. Viewers register in advance for Zoom access and may submit questions. The forums will be recorded and made available afterwards. We encourage voters throughout MDUSD to watch the forums so they understand the candidate positions. 

MDUSD Candidate Forum - Area 3 - September 29, 6:00PM

· Three candidates: Dennis Chow, Keisha Nzewi, Michael Schneider
· Register here for Candidate Forum - Area 3
· Review Area 3 Candidate Ballot Statements filed with CCC Elections Department
· Families in this area may have children attending these schools: Ygnacio Valley High School, Oak Grove Middle School, Cambridge Elementary, Meadow Homes Elementary, Bancroft Elementary, Fair Oaks Elementary, Hidden Valley Elementary, Valley View Middle School, College Park High School, Gregory Gardens Elementary, and Mt. Diablo High School. View the MDUSD Election Area map to check your area.

MDUSD Candidate Forum - Area 5 - September 29, 7:00PM 

· Two candidates: Erin McFerrin, Carol Trost
· Register here for Candidate Forum - Area 5
· Review Area 5 Candidate Ballot Statements filed with CCC Elections Department
· Some families may have children attending these schools: Concord High School, El Dorado Middle School, El Monte Elementary, Wren Avenue Elementary, Westwood Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Silverwood Elementary, Ygnacio Valley Elementary, and Meadow Homes Elementary. View the MDUSD Election Area map to check your area. 


Hispanic Heritage Month

     Our Governing Board recently resolved to recognize September 15-October 15 as Hispanic Heritage Month, continuing in a long standing tradition to formally acknowledge and celebrate hispanic heritage. On social media, we have already seen culturally rich classroom activities, proud celebrations, and even recipes being shared. We are incredibly proud of our diversity, and we encourage you to share out the unique ways you are celebrating hispanic heritage this month! 


Registration Open for 8th Annual MDUSD College Fair

Registration Flyer

     Preparing students for the future is our passion, and we are fortunate to serve the students of MDUSD. 

     Our College Fair Committee has been hard at work to arrange the 8th Annual MDUSD College Fair, which will take place on Tuesday, September 29. Each year, our College Fair has improved its scope and value for students, and this year is unique in that it will be completely virtual.

     This event is targeted at Juniors and Seniors district-wide, and will include a total of ninety-one higher education institutions from across the nation in an organized, explorative virtual environment. Attendees will also find other educational resources such as tutoring, test preparation, and college search support. We care to see our students succeed post-graduation, and for those choosing a college path, we know the high level of exposure to institutions will help to facilitate better-informed decisions.

    Registration is open now! Register using your MDUSD email account: www.strivefair.com/mdusd

    Registration is open only to students and parents/guardians from MDUSD schools: College Park, Concord, Mt. Diablo, Northgate, Ygnacio Valley and Olympic High Schools, as well as Nueva Vista/Summit, Prospect/Horizon, Crossroads High School, Gateway and Diablo Community Day School. Students can register for multiple sessions in the same timeframe, so they can attend one, and parents/guardians can attend another. For any questions or concerns, please contact mdusdcollegefair@gmail.com. | Spanish Flyer |


Half-Staff Flag in Recognition of R.B.G.Half-Staff Flag

     Mt. Diablo Unified School District is flying the national and state flag at half-staff in recognition of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed last week at age eighty-seven. Paying respect, Board President Brian Lawrence adjourned the September 22 Special Board Meeting in her honor. 

 


A Victory: Senate Bill 793

Newsom Signs     It's official—flavored tobacco products are banned in the State of California. With the recent approval of Senate Bill 793, California became the first state to outlaw the sale of flavored tobacco products, including vapes, menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, and more. This is a victory for public health and was the result of intense lobbying initiatives from many agencies who advocated together against big tobacco. 

     MDUSD's Tobacco Use Prevention Education Program (TUPE) Administrator Linda Pete had this to say: "[This is] great. Our students are being overloaded with invitations to try these sweet products. I'm so happy about it. Our County team and other members that are apart of that coalition have worked hard—and continue to work hard—to keep our kids safe."



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The Friday Letter is written and compiled by the district's Communications Specialist each week, and is sent to a staff and community audience totaling ~32,000. To sign up for the distribution list, send an email to superintendentsoffice@mdusd.org. To view more Friday Letters and other district communications, visit the Superintendent's Office page. Do you have a story worthy of a district audience? Contact breidenthala@mdusd.org with your ideas or suggestions.