In partnership with OCDE, the Orange County Register has announced 105 semifinalists in its annual Artist of the Year program.
A panel of visual and performing arts teachers was tasked with evaluating the work of 616 talented high school artists in seven disciplines — dance, film/animation, instrumental music, vocal music, theater, computer-assisted visual arts and handcrafted visual arts — and multiple specialties within each discipline.
According to the Register, students submitted applications, performance videos, art portfolios, film samples and artistic résumés for consideration. A final round of judging that’s usually done in-person was conducted virtually.
From the pool of semifinalists, two dozen finalists are set to be selected, or one for each specialty. Ultimately, one student from each of the seven disciplines will be named a 2021 Artist of the Year on May 2.
And here are the other stories we’ve been following during this very busy week:
- Six educators who enlightened, encouraged and uplifted students during one of the most challenging years in memory were announced this week as the 2022 Orange County Teachers of the Year. The big reveals were also covered by the Orange County Register.
- After a review of the data, 10 more Orange County campuses were added to this year’s list of California Distinguished Schools, bringing OC’s total to 21 in 2021.
- A teacher at Melinda Heights Elementary School in Rancho Santa Margarita spun the big wheel, solved the word puzzle and won a Florida home during an appearance on “Wheel Of Fortune.” It marked the first time the gameshow has given away a house in its 46-year history.
- Santa Ana Unified officials say the district will offer in-person instruction to 25,000 students this summer, with most school classrooms accommodating as few as 10 students and high school classes limited to 20 students per teacher. More details are expected during a May 18 school board meeting.
- In the wake of the pandemic, the Laguna Beach Unified School District unveiled an 18-month plan to accelerate learning that includes assessments, interventions, staff training and collaborative planning.
- Middle and high school students in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District returned to full-day, in-person instruction four days a week, with one day of remote learning. Elementary students resumed on-site instruction the previous week.
- Esencia School in Rancho Mission Viejo had only been open about a year when COVID-19 hit. Through the pandemic, the school maintained its emphasis on literacy and math and strived for consistency in each grade level.
- On the heels of California approving an ethnic studies model curriculum, efforts to offer elective ethnic studies coursework in Orange County have sparked debate, the Voice of OC reports.
- UCI Health Family’s Health Center in Anaheim is partnering with the Anaheim Union High School District to offer voluntary vaccinations to students who are at least 16 years old — and their families. A guardian must accompany anyone younger than 18.
- For more than two decades, OCDE has been celebrating high school seniors through the OC AVID Senior Recognition Program. This year, the AVID team virtually recognized local students who received awards and scholarships.
- In recognition of its sweeping efforts to couple sustainability with environmental literacy, Fryberger Elementary in Westminster was announced as one of five California schools to receive U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) recognition after being designated as a “Green Achiever” by the state.
- For Earth Day, Whitaker Elementary School in Buena Park unveiled a mural of two young children tending a flower garden. The mural adorns a wall next to Whitaker’s own Wellness Garden, which is being used for outdoor science lessons.
- California schools should use their Covid-19 relief funds to embed mental health, equity and relationship support into all aspects of the school day, according to a new report co-published by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) and other groups, including the California PTA, the California Teachers Association and the Association for California School Administrators.
- The OCDE Newsroom posted a roundup of good deeds shared in 2021 as part of the department’s One Billion Acts of Kindness campaign.
- Calling for school officials to restore in-person middle school instruction full-time, a group of parents and students protested outside the headquarters of the Huntington Beach City School District.
- The Capistrano Unified School District previewed its “reopening 2.0 plan,” which would bring all students back to campuses full-time for 2021-22 school year.
- And finally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will feed millions of children over the summer by expanding its Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, or P-EBT, program.
This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroom, subscribing for emailed updates and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.