Weekly roundup: Local organization donates over 10,000 backpacks to Santa Ana USD students; state superintendent visits Southern California; and more

Over ten thousand students in the Santa Ana Unified School District this week received backpacks with school supplies from Karina’s Backpack Project, in partnership with the Joy of Sharing Foundation and Dreams for Schools.

Karina's Backpack Project
Over ten thousand students in the Santa Ana Unified School District received backpacks from Karina’s Backpack Project

But this is not the first time the foundation has helped Santa Ana students. In 2020, Karina’s Backpack Project donated 6,000 backpacks to 10 Santa Ana Unified School District schools as part of an initiative to help local students in need.

According to the district, the following SAUSD elementary schools are also scheduled to receive backpacks over the next few days: Adams, Davis, Esqueda, Franklin, Fremont, Garfield, Heninger, Jefferson, Kennedy, Lincoln, Lowell, Martin, McFadden, Monroe, Muir, Santiago, Sierra, Taft and Wilson.

“We are very thankful for this service Karina’s Backpack Project provides to our SAUSD families. Our community partners play a key role in the support our schools offer our families. This is another incredible example,” said Jerry Almendarez, SAUSD Superintendent of Schools, in a statement.

Karina’s Backpack Project, the brainchild of Orange County teen Karina Tarsadia, was created to provide low-income families with supplies for local students. Karina came up with the idea after going on service trips with her family to India, Cambodia and Peru, according to the project’s website.

And here are some of the other education stories we are tracking this week:

  • Vacant for about 11 years after being shut down because of low enrollment, Swain Elementary School in the Cypress School District will soon be repurposed as the center for the district’s Maintenance, Operations, Transportation and Technology Department.
  • Costa Mesa’s International School for Science and Culture — a charter recently under review for non-compliance issues — has been given a green light to resume teaching by the Orange County Board of Education, reports the Daily Pilot.
  • School officials throughout Orange County are hearing from parents who hold opposing views about a state mandate that requires most students, teachers and staff to wear masks when indoors at school, according to the Orange County Register.
  • In related news, the Orange County Board of Education has voted to sue Governor Gavin Newsom over a state mandate requiring K-12 students to wear masks in classrooms and other indoor campus facilities, reports the Los Angeles Times.
  • And finally, the Voice of OC reports that school districts throughout Orange County plan to enforce the mask mandate from state officials when students return to the classroom this fall, even while they face pushback from some parents and groups.

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.