Weekly roundup: Student competes in Braille Challenge, new COVID-19 guidelines, superintendent earns champion award, and more

Braille dots can be found on parking meters, bathroom signs, ATMs and even restaurant menus, but only about 10 percent of visually impaired Americans can read it. An Orange County teenager is one of them.

Lynn Wu Braille Challenge Finalist

Student Lynn Wu is an incoming senior at Tesoro High School. She was born blind in one eye and was introduced to Braille after she lost her sight completely in the fourth grade. While blindness can create profound difficulties in everyday life, Lynn has found ways to maintain her 4.0 GPA in school and learn Braille.

“When you’re put in that situation, you just go with it,” Lynn said. “Some things are harder, but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.”

As television outlet Spectrum News 1 reported, the 15-year-old student was selected as a finalist for the 2022 national Braille Challenge held at the University of Southern California on June 27. While Lynn did not win, she impressed the judges and represented her state and county as a three-time finalist.

The Braille Challenge, created in 2000, is the only academic competition of its kind in North America and the U.K. for students who are blind or visually impaired. The top 50 students who participated in the finals advanced from a group of more than 800 students.

The annual competition aims to promote the importance of braille literacy. It motivates students to practice and hone their braille literacy skills, which are essential to academic and employment success.

Lynn participated in a live interview with local station KCAL ahead of the challenge.

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

  • Thousands of students said goodbye to high school this month. After a few years of navigating life and off campus during a global pandemic, graduates of the Class of 2022 flipped their tassels and tossed their caps at ceremonies held throughout June.
  • In 2019, the California Department of Education asked the Orange County Department of Education to lead the state health education framework rollout by providing optional guidance for K-12 teachers in public schools.
  • The California Department of Public Health issued new guidance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on K-12 campuses in the 2022-23 school year.
  • Addressing the shortage of bilingual teachers in Asian languages, the California Legislature put forth a $5 million budget to support and prepare educators for dual immersion programs.
  • Most California teachers have appropriate credentials and training to teach the subjects and students in their classes. However, many do not, according to a new statewide data on teacher assignments.

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.