Weekly roundup: OC celebrates Read Across America Day, mask guidance reactions, and more

In honor of Read Across America Day, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond paid a visit to the Jordan Academy of Language and Computer Science in Orange, volunteering as a guest reader during an outdoor assembly.

After discussing the importance of literacy with Jordan students, Thurmond read the picture book “Say Something!” by Peter H. Reynolds. An Orange County Register photographer was on hand to capture a few photos for a gallery that ran on its website, and the California Department of Education posted a few of its own pictures on Twitter.

“Reaching literacy by third grade has long been a goal of California schools and a key benchmark in measuring and predicting student success,” Thurmond said.

On the same day, the state superintendent also announced he was partnering with Assemblymember Mia Bonta on proposed legislation that would establish a grant program for community literacy and education enrichment through partnerships between schools and community-based organizations.

Established in the late ’90s, Read Across America coincides annually with the birthday of the late Dr. Seuss to promote and celebrate literacy.

A number of local schools invited their own guest readers and held special events this week, including Peterson Elementary in Huntington Beach, which was the subject of a Daily Pilot story. Several other campuses and districts marked the occasion on social media.

Here’s a sampling:

And here are some of the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • Reactions from parents and teachers to the state’s decision to ease on-campus masking requirements were unsurprisingly split, according to the Orange County Register. While some felt the move was long overdue, others expressed concerns. Meanwhile, the Daily Pilot reported that parents in its coverage areas were generally optimistic.
  • On the heels of California’s new indoor masking guidance, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to align workplace safety rules for school employees and other workers.
  • With 10 days to go before the state’s mask requirement shifts to a strong recommendation, the Capistrano Unified school board voted 4-3 against a proposed resolution calling for changes in how the rule is enforced locally.
  • After the vote, a Capistrano trustee stepped down from the board, saying she and her family were subject to harassment over the matter, the Register reported.
  • The Museum of Tolerance is hosting a webinar for educators on Wednesday, March 9 featuring author Janice Munemitsu, whose new book documents the bond between two local families during the legal fight to desegregate Orange County schools. OCDE staff are participating in the event.
  • The OC Health Care Agency shared the tragic news that two Orange County teenagers with COVID-19 died in February, marking the fourth and fifth pediatric deaths associated with the disease.
  • Last year, California invested significantly in school counselors, but the state’s student-to-counselor ratio still ranks near the bottom nationally, EdSource reports.
  • Meanwhile, state leaders are reportedly working to pass legislation that could allow school districts to hire as many as 10,000 new mental health counselors to help students deal with the emotional toll of the pandemic, natural disasters and other traumas.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.