Superintendent’s Update October 2020

A Message From the Superintendent 
To help protect our school community, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education has partnered with Stanford Medicine to provide COVID-19 testing to all essential school personnel on an ongoing basis at no cost to the employee. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requires that adequate surveillance testing for COVID-19 include a minimum of 25% of essential school staff to be tested every two weeks, or 50% a month. In addition to the recurring appointments required by CDPH, we will also be able to offer open testing to any school employee who requests it. We have opened our testing facility at 399 Encinal and tested over 150 staff members at this time. We have prioritized staff who may be in close contact with students. 

This COVID-19 testing partnership represents only one factor of many that will be required prior to considering reopening for in-person instruction.  We will continue working with our local public health authorities to develop the systems to minimize the risks to our students and staff. It is particularly important to remain cautious and vigilant in practicing protocols that help reduce the risk of COVID-19 such as continuing to shelter in place to the extent possible, wearing face coverings when in the presence of others, practicing healthy physical distancing, and performing adequate hand hygiene now and when we are able to create more in-person services for students.  

Yours in education,

Dr. Faris Sabbah
Superintendent of Schools

Department Updates

CTEP Update

cooking tools in rollout carry caseCTEP has taken full advantage of services provided by Stephanie Sumarna (TOSA) Teacher on Special Assignment for Distance Learning. All staff has received professional development sessions. We have also incorporated Distance Learning kits for hands on activities students can use at home along with their instruction. Attached is a sample Culinary kit.

Educational Services Update

Educational Services is continuing to work on supporting districts with strong professional development, including updating our Distance Learning website and professional development calendar. We are also updating our COE website to make it more user friendly and accessible for all stakeholders. Collaboration between our internal curriculum and instruction department and CTEP has been valuable and productive, and we have been meeting every two weeks to talk about how we can work together to support each other’s efforts. New Teacher Project is hosting their annual (virtual) breakfast on October 22, which will be focusing on developing anti-racist educators. And we recently hosted our first Multilingual Network meeting to support educators in their continued implementation of the EL Roadmap.

Tech+ Update

The Technology, Innovation, and Communications Division (Tech+) has been working diligently to ensure ALL students and staff are provided a quality distance learning experience. In our efforts, we recently installed Outdoor wifi to both our COE building and Sequoia Schools providing wifi in the parking lot  students and for staff to meet safely in person outdoors to complete work. We recently held our first Computer Science Advisory Committee to build bridges and articulation between Cabrillo College and Industry. Finally, we are well underway our series of Distance Learning Professional Development focused on personalized learning. We held 3 sessions so far focused on Synchronously learning support with Zoom, Using Instructional Videos, and Creating engaging Asynchronous Learning environments. 

Student Support Services Update

The Student Support Services Department is in the process of deploying 600 online training licenses for education staff in the county under a grant from the CDE.   The class is 90 minutes in length and covers a simple, effective and evidenced-based suicide prevention protocol that staff can use to engage students who show concerning indicators.  After this rollout, another round of licenses will be given for student use and implementation. This is a collaboration with LivingWorks and the San Diego COE in support of AB1808, which aims to have all staff trained in this topic. 

Past and Upcoming Events

Oct 1: Launch of LGBTQ+ History Month 
Oct. 5: Launch of COVID-19 Surveillance Testing System
Oct. 8: Launch of Youth for Environmental Action Committee
Oct. 10: 2020 Queer Youth Leadership Awards
Oct. 10: 2020 Queer, Trans, & Allied Summit
Oct. 17: Sherrie Elrod Memorial Service
Nov. 3: Election Day, Please Vote
Nov. 5 (Tentative); Special Board Meeting
Nov. 19: Regular Board Meeting