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October 30, 2020 Friday Letter Volume 2, No. 22
Posted 10/30/20

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OCTOBER 30, 2020 FRIDAY LETTER VOLUME 2, NO. 22



In Case You Missed It: Board Approves Hybrid Option

     Good news—a hybrid learning model (one model with physical classes and distance learning) will be available to families in January. At its October 26 regular meeting, the Governing Board authorized Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark's specific recommendations for the next phase in our return to school:

  • On January 11, TK, K, and grades 1, 6, and 9 will begin a hybrid learning model.
  • On January 19, grades 2, 3, 7, and 10 will begin a hybrid learning model.
  • On January 25, grades 4, 5, 8, 11, and 12 will begin a hybrid learning model.
  • A 100% distance learning model will still be available as an option for any family that is not comfortable with returning to physical classes.

     The district is currently surveying staff and families—asking for a commitment in advance to one option or the other—to help with planning. Families will express their preference in two stages, first, with a non-binding survey, then, with a binding survey. 

  • "The first survey, scheduled to go out October 30, will ask for specific information regarding grade levels and school sites. As we analyze this data, it will further influence our scheduling and class assignments. Our goal is to keep students enrolled in their current school and with their current teacher. Responding to this survey is critical for keeping learning continuity.
  • "The next survey will go out on November 16. This survey will require families to formally commit to the Hybrid model or continue in the 100% Distance Learning model. Prior to the deadline for this survey, the District will strive to provide as much clarity regarding the structure of the two options as possible. Again, responding to this survey will be critical in keeping to the established timeline." -Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark 

     With the mutual goal of supporting students, and special consideration for academic, technological, and social emotional supports, our partnership and collaboration with our labor organizations continues. Developing and documenting formal understandings with our labor organizations is key, and we will communicate to the broader community when we reach those formal understandings. 


For Your Review: Our District 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


The Good Works of the MDUSD Education Foundation:
2019-20 Annual Report Available Now

     Annual ReportWe are so thankful for our partners at the MDUSD Education Foundation and for you, our community, who support the many good works that are continuing. Whether your contribution to the foundation has been big or small, thank you on behalf of all of the students and programs that directly benefit. We would like to invite you to visit mdedf.org/news to see their beautiful, newly published 2019-20 Annual Report, which showcases the school year's initiatives and how funds translated into improved or new programs for MDUSD students. In the Annual Report, you will see lots of familiar names and faces from our district community. The MDUSD Education Foundation Board of Directors works hard to organize and strategize in service of our students along side its Advisory Committee, which our superintendent recently joined. Kudos also to Julie at Urban Bird Design for her excellent design work here.  


How Our Governing Board Evaluates the Superintendent

Adam s First Day     Healthy organizations have consistent and effective employee performance evaluations. In school districts, a superintendent serves as a chief executive and must receive direction and performance evaluations from a district's board of education. Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark was appointed at the start of the 2020-21 school year, signing a multi-year contract, and we find that it is important for our public to know and understand how he is evaluated.

     It is notable that the MDUSD Governing Board has consistently placed a, "Superintendent's Evaluation," item on its closed session meeting agendas since Dr. Clark's appointment; the board's interest and commitment to consistent discussion of such is apparent. Specific goals for the superintendent's performance have been defined as follows: 

  • Goal 1:  Maintain long-term and short-term solvency and financial stability, as evidenced by...
  • Goal 2: Using an equity lens, create systems that are student centered, as evidenced by...
  • Goal 3: Use data to identify achievement gaps and seek improvements in district policies, practices, and resources to better support learning for each student.

     You can inspect the full evaluation document here, and know that improvement is the primary objective of the evaluation dynamic, to ultimately move our district forward with continuous progress. 


Our County's Improved Tier Status and How to Maintain Safety

from our public health authority Contra Costa Health Services:

     On Tuesday, [October 27], the State of California announced that Contra Costa County could move into the orange tier of the state’s [COVID-19] Blueprint for a Safer Economy, [an improvement from the former purple and red tiers]. Health officials are amending the county social distancing order to align with the state guidance for that tier, which allows gatherings of up to 25 people and three households. At the same time, health officials are advising caution because of the potential for a surge of cases in the coming weeks that could move the county back into a more restrictive tier.

“Gatherings where people from multiple households are together for a prolonged period of time, especially indoors, and settings where people remove their masks to eat and drink, pose a high risk for spreading COVID-19,” said County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano. The safest option, Dr. Farnitano said, is to connect with loved ones virtually through Zoom or other online platforms. Health officials are offering the following safety tips for in-person gatherings:

  • Outdoors is safer than indoors: During the colder months, gathering outside will be more challenging. Dr. Farnitano suggests that people plan to dress warmly or purchase outdoor space heaters so events can be held outside comfortably.
  • Try not to mix with too many other households: Participating in gatherings with different households or groups increases your risk of coming into contact with someone who has COVID.
  • Keep it short: Gatherings should be two hours or less. The longer the duration, the risk of transmission increases.
  • Wear face coverings: This is especially important when coming into contact with people from another household – even if they’re family relatives. People at gatherings may remove their face coverings briefly to eat or drink as long as they stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done with the activity.
  • Don’t attend a gathering if you feel sick

“Since there is no vaccine or cure for COVID, people need to continue to practice physical distancing, washing their hands regularly and wearing face coverings when around people they don’t live with,” Dr. Farnitano said.


Don't Miss Your Early Voting Opportunity

     Find out where to go on Election Day (Tuesday, November 3) or consider voting early at the times and locations below. Remember that ballots are trilingual, in English, Spanish, and Chinese. Language tools in Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese are also available at polling places. Voting requires registration, so polling places can also assist citizens with registration as needed. This election's ballot will include choices for President of the United States, federal representatives, state representatives, county and city offices, Mt. Diablo Unified School District board candidates, and many other important initiatives that affect our everyday lives. Find out more about the election

Early Voting Days:

Friday, October 30, 11:00AM - 7:00PM // Saturday, October 31, 9:00AM - 5:00PM // Monday, November 2, 11:00AM - 7:00PM

Early Voting Locations:

Ambrose Community Center - 3105 Willow Pass Rd (Bay Point) // Clarion Hotel - 1050 Burnett Ave (Concord) // El Rancho Restaurant - 1450 Monument Blvd (Concord) // St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church - 1955 Kirker Pass Rd (Concord) // Hyatt House Pleasant Hill - 2611 Contra Costa Blvd (Pleasant Hill) // Heather Farms Park - 301 N San Carlos Drive (Walnut Creek) // Veterans Memorial Building - 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd (Lafayette)


COVID-19 Testing and Free Flu Shots

     Contra Costa Health Services is offering free COVID-19 testing across our county. Find a location near you. Free Flu Shots are available for families at these COVID-19 testing sites: • Antioch • Bay Point • Central Concord (Monument) • North Concord • Richmond • San Ramon



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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.