Weekly roundup: Pairing dogs with school police, Classified School Employee Week, an AAPI virtual forum, and more

It is no secret that dogs make us happy. Ask anyone who spends time with a pup on a regular basis and they will let you know just how much joy their tail-wagging companion delivers.

As the OC Register reported, two support dogs named Misha and Nellie were introduced Monday, May 16, at Mitchell Elementary School in the Garden Grove Unified School District during an afternoon assembly about mental health. The district and the Garden Grove Police Department are partnering to provide the additional layer of social-emotional support for students.

SRO Julienne with student
SRO Patrick Julienne introduces students to Misha after the assembly.

“We care about your mental health and your well-being,” Superintendent Gabriela Mafi said. “Mental health means asking for help when you’re dealing with something that’s too hard to handle on your own.”

While the program was officially announced Monday, the dogs along with School Resource Officers Patrick Julienne and Derek Link, have already started making their rounds at Mitchell for the past month. Students, staff and faculty expressed interest for additional support following the tragic death of fifth-grade student Vyncent Trinh. The dogs offered support to his twin brother, Ace, and the campus.

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

  • County Superintendent Dr. Al Mijares is hosting a virtual forum with a distinguished panel of speakers who will share personal stories and perspectives in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
  • OCDE representatives made surprise visits to recognize five school-based Peer Assistant Leadership (PAL) programs and four advisors for empowering and engaging students to help others in times of need.
  • OCDE’s Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership chapters celebrated in person for the first time in three years as two schools and an advisor were honored with awards for promoting youth leadership while leading alcohol and drug prevention initiatives. 
  • Schools, offices and districts would not be safe and thriving learning environments if it weren’t for the contributions of classified school workers. Spanning the third week of May, Classified School Employee Week honors the thousands of essential workers who make an impact on education every day.
  • Thirteen of the 53 historical project entries recognized at the 2022 National History Day California Contest are advancing to National History Day championships in June. The state finals returned in-person this year and were held at William Jessup University in Rocklin, California.
  • With their own campus temporarily closed as a result of the Coastal Fire, more than 300 students from Moulton Elementary School in Capistrano Unified were directed to nearby Wood Canyon Elementary. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond visited Wood Canyon with County Superintendent Al Mijares to offer support to the local school district and its students.
  • The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest school system, is facing tough choices as it expects a 30 percent drop in enrollment over the next decade.
  • And finally, there’s a new push to get more kids in California to use school buses as their primary mode of transportation. As KCRA reported, advocates say buses are the safest way for kids to get to school, improve school attendance and reduce pollution.

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.