Weekly roundup: OCDE educator talks distance learning; the latest on elementary waivers, and more

An ABC7 News crew recently paid a visit to OCDE’s Pacific Coast High School to talk to Principal Machele Kilgore about distance learning.

Machele Kilgore talks to reporter

OCDE’s Machele Kilgore talks to ABC7 reporter Tony Cabrera about distance learning.

As we’ve mentioned, Kilgore helped launch PCHS in 1990, creating a blend of online courses and on-campus options for families seeking something different, so she’s got more than a little experience with remote learning. She also heads OCDE’s Community Home Education Program, which supports parents who opt to educate younger children at home.

Kilgore told reporter Tony Cabrera that her programs have drawn a lot of interest of late, receiving about 150 calls over a three-day stretch last week.

“We are a public school through the Orange County Department of Education, so we’re one option that families have that has been around for about 30 years, so we do have a bit of experience with the distance learning, independent study approach,” she told ABC7.

Here are some of the other stories we’ve been tracking this week:

  • Meanwhile, some local students are already starting the year with traditional back-to-school hallmarks, including teacher introductions, new supplies and family photos.
  • For 16 years, the Orange County Children’s Book Festival has recruited authors, illustrators, storytellers and entertainers for a daylong, family-friendly celebration of reading. Like many large-scale gatherings, this year’s festival has been reimagined as a virtual event, one that features actress Kristen Bell and New York Times bestselling authors.
  • The OC Health Care Agency launched a new online dashboard this week that includes state Department of Public Health data along with a “countdown clock” to show the number of days the county has been off the state’s monitoring list.
  • Four charter schools, including one in Orange County, have filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Education and state officials over a budgeting formula that calculated this year’s K-12 spending based on last year’s enrollment levels.
  • Elementary schools that do have their waivers approved by local health officials will have the option of getting students and staff members tested for COVID-19 at county-run sites following a vote by Orange County supervisors.
  • Even if they’re not allowed to open for instruction, some California schools will be able to house child care programs in the fall as long as operators follow health and safety protocols. That may seem contradictory, but officials say child care programs typically accommodate smaller cohorts and draw fewer families to campuses.
  • Litigation brought by the OC Board of Education against OCDE and state leaders has led to millions of dollars in legal bills over the last several years, the Voice of OC reported.
  • Thanks to the support of the Angels Foundation and Orange County Advancement Via Individual Determination, 65 AVID standout students were awarded brand new laptops during a special drive-through event organized by OCDE’s Advanced Learning team.
  • EdSource reports that collective bargaining over what remote learning should look like hasn’t been easy, stirring disagreements over work day hours, recorded lessons and other issues, EdSource reports.

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.