Weekly roundup: Model Continuation High Schools, state and local reopening plans, and more

La Vista High School in Fullerton was among 27 California campuses recognized this week as Model Continuation High Schools for 2021.

According to a news release from the state Department of Education, the MCHS Recognition Program represents a partnership between the CDE and the California Continuation Education Association Plus, or CCEA Plus.

A news graphicThursday’s announcement by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond followed a comprehensive application process that examined instructional strategies, scheduling, guidance, counseling and the commitment of each site’s educators.

“Student attendance and engagement in distance learning during the school closures has been difficult — especially for students who struggled with attendance issues before the pandemic,” Thurmond said. “These model schools have been able to keep at-risk students on track using social and emotional learning, mentorship programs, restorative justice practices, and other innovative methods.”

La Vista High, which is part of the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, will retain its Model Continuation High School designation for three years. It’s set to be formally recognized with the 26 other schools at a conference in April.

You can find more information and the complete list of the 2021 winners on the CDE’s website.

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

  • Governor Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers announced a deal that will provide school districts with financial incentives to open schools for students in transitional kindergarten through second grade. The agreement sets aside $6.6 billion for districts that return young learners to in-person instruction by March 31.
  • Laguna Beach Unified says it plans to reopen its secondary campuses — Thurston Middle School and Laguna Beach High School — when Orange County advances to the less restrictive “red” tier of the state’s color-coded system.
  • As COVID-19 rates across the state decline, some California parents disagree on how and when to return to school. In fact, there’s a wide range of opinions among populations with different racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Last week, OCDE hosted a virtual forum in recognition of Black History Month, featuring six prominent panelists who shared their stories and offered strategies for ensuring equity, opportunity and inclusion in and out of the classroom. For those who couldn’t watch it live, the OCDE Newsroom has posted a recording of the event.
  • Family, friends and community members mourned the loss of Joe Trejo, an Anaheim Union High School District locksmith who died on Monday after contracting COVID-19. He was 53, and the tragedy was felt far and wide in the education community. As the Register notes, Trejo’s wife and son are also school employees in other Orange County districts.
  • School districts across Orange County celebrated Read Across America Day with guest readers and costumes. The annual literacy initiative encourages strong reading habits by focusing on the fun and developmental importance of books.
  • Five high school athletes who participate in indoor sports are part of a legal challenge to the state’s pandemic-era guidelines, the Register reports.
  • The Capistrano Unified School District recently held reopening ceremonies for upgraded college and career centers at Dana Hills and Aliso Niguel high schools. A similar celebration is planned for Capistrano Valley High in May.

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.