A daily round-up of education news and views for the Golden State.
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 Principal News
 A daily round-up of education news and views for the Golden State. To add a recipient please click here
Wednesday, 13th October 2021




California to open more than 100 vaccine clinics in schools

California will open more than 100 school-located vaccination clinics this fall in vulnerable neighborhoods, officials announced Tuesday. The clinics will offer shots to students and staff at K-8 schools in low socioeconomic zip codes, in an effort to increase access and lower illness-specific school absences. “This is bringing vaccine to where people are,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan. “It’s so much more convenient to go where they are so no family has to be make a special trip to a clinic.” The clinics will offer the COVID-19 vaccine, with some also offering the flu vaccine. Additionally, the state's health department has received federal funding for a pilot program to introduce COVID-sniffing dogs into schools. Scientists say the coronavirus, like other diseases, has a distinct scent and several research centers across the U.S. have been working on training dogs to detect the presence of the disease.

San Francisco Chronicle 




LAUSD board approves pandemic-era deal with teachers

The Los Angeles USD school board voted unanimously yesterday to ratify an agreement with the teachers union on matters related to quarantine instruction, COVID-19 health-and-safety measures and employee compensation. The agreement also paves the way for more teachers to be reassigned to City of Angels, the district’s online independent study program. The program has been plagued by severe staffing shortages, as a record number of students opted to remain in remote learning this year because of the ongoing pandemic. Prior to the deal with United Teachers Los Angeles, educators were required to allow live online access to their classrooms for the whole school day for elementary students quarantining at home, or for the entire class period for middle and high schoolers. Now, teachers only need to provide online access for half that time.

Los Angeles Daily News 


Palm Springs approves new SRO contracts

The Palm Springs USD school board voted 5-0 yesterday to approve school resource officer contracts for the 2021-22 school year with the police departments of Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs as well as the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Palm Springs Unified has agreed to pay for 100% of the salaries of four police officers — one from each department — an amount totaling approximately $650,000.

Palm Springs Desert Sun 


Fresno adds a high school in fastest-growing part of town

Sanger USD's new high-tech campus is a sign of the growth coming to Fresno’s fastest-growing sector, leaders said Tuesday. The $54m first phase of what is to be the district’s second high school and middle school campuses is in the city of Fresno at Fowler and Jensen avenues. Officials lauded it Tuesday with a ribbon-cutting. The campus is being called Sanger High West for now. Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said the city plans to build space for 40,000 new households at that edge of town. “The southeast of Fresno is going to be the fastest growing of anywhere in Fresno,” he said. “We‘re going to need more educational facilities.”

The Fresno Bee 




Federal judge sides with SC students over 'disorderly conduct' rules

A federal judge has side with a group of South Carolina students who argued that broadly written state laws against “disorderly conduct” and “disturbing schools” allowed police to arrest and cite students for routine misbehaviors. District Judge Margaret B. Seymour's ruling touched on themes underpinning ongoing national debates about disproportionately high discipline rates for students of color and students with disabilities, school policing, and writing state laws and school policies that ensure equity. To be fair, policies must be clearly and transparently interpreted by school employees, law enforcement, and students, racial justice advocates have said. Judge Seymour ordered South Carolina not to enforce the disorderly conduct law against students in K-12 schools. And she ordered the state not to retain records of students who’d been cited for “disturbing schools.” Since the origin of the case, South Carolina lawmakers amended that law so that it didn’t apply to current students. But those who’d previously been arrested or cited for disturbing schools offenses argued the situations had affected their educational and life trajectories. Judge Seymour made her ruling after a law enforcement officer testified that two school resource officers could come to differing conclusions about what student behavior constituted an arrestable disorderly conduct offense.

Education Week 




Best-practice approaches for assessing students with disabilities

Limited time or resources shouldn’t prevent schools from conducting informal and formal assessments of students with disabilities, including those with significant cognitive disabilities, the National Center on Education Outcomes (NCEO) said in a recent paper. Not only can testing provide critical information on how to design instruction to combat pandemic-related learning loss, formally assessing students with disabilities is also a requirement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, said NCEO director and report co-author Sheryl Lazarus. The NCEO has set out three approaches to measuring student performance during the pandemic and recovery, including: reviews of all students' individual education plans, to ensure they accurately reflect a student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance; using formative assessments through the year to guide effective day-to-day instruction and learning; and to be more transparent in planning for testing, and the subsequent reporting of results. 

K-12 Dive 




More colleges remove SAT, ACT requirements during application process

Nearly 130 colleges and universities in California do not require students applying for the fall 2022 semester to release their ACT or SAT scores, according to updated data from the National Center for Fair & Open Testing. The center, also known as FairTest, is a nonprofit organization that lobbies for colleges to treat students as “more than a score,” and expand their admission criteria beyond standardized test results. “Schools that did not mandate ACT/SAT submission last year generally received more applicants, better academically qualified applicants, and a more diverse pool of applicants,” said FairTest Executive Director Bob Schaeffer. About 7% — including the University of California and Cal State University — are located in California. The University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University are also on the list. University of California regents unanimously voted in May 2020 to suspend SAT and ACT testing requirements through 2024 and eliminate them for California students by 2025.

Los Angeles Times 




New initiative aims to help school officials with tech purchasing decisions

District and school leaders are facing some of the most difficult and expensive technology purchasing decisions of their careers. Now, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is working with partner organizations to build a national database of edtech products. It will be up to vendors to add their products to the list. And each product will be given a universal learning technology ID or UTID. “Having access to consistent information across the field is really key,” said Mindy Frisbee, the senior director of learning partnerships at ISTE. “One would think that it’s really easy” when a prospective edtech buyer is looking at a specific product through one library or resource, and then goes to another place to find out more. Next month, ISTE will roll out a searchable, database with a filtering tool. Initially, users will be able to see information such as the name of the product, a description, the grade or grades that the product is intended for, the topic it covers, and the pricing structure. And soon, the database will be expanded to include other factors such as whether the products meet interoperability standards and feature privacy policies

Education Week 




Mountain lion again spotted near North Natomas schools

A mountain lion was spotted near a high school in North Natomas shortly before 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, the second such sighting in as many weeks, according to Natomas USD and the Sacramento Police Department. In a message sent to parents, the school district said the mountain lion was seen near the park and ponds across from Inderkum High School. The school sits across the street from the North Natomas Regional Park. The police department said the lion has not been located.

The Sacramento Bee 

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