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Happy New Year! Updates and Investments
Posted 1/7/22

Happy 2022 CUSD Families!

I hope you had a very happy and healthy Holiday season! I want to begin by thanking each of you for following the health & safety protocols and guidelines and by keeping students home when they are sick or showing signs of illness. Our priority has always been to keep our schools and classrooms open and we need your continued partnership and support in this work. I greatly appreciate your diligence in keeping our students, teachers, classified staff, and administrators safe as we navigate the challenges of COVID together.

 

Update on State One-Time COVID-19 Testing Kits

 

As you are aware, the state is providing one-time, at-home COVID-19 antigen testing kits to California students through their parents and guardians. These kits are in addition to the comprehensive testing we have in place throughout the District. Today, CUSD Elementary schools sent these kits home with students. As we receive additional one time testing kits from the state, we will distribute these kits to middle and high school families. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has stated that there is no statewide testing mandate, but families are encouraged to use the at-home tests as an added precaution. CDPH says its efforts are intended to increase access to tests for K-12 students as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

We will continue to follow all CDPH and Orange County Health Care Agency health and safety guidelines.

 

Investments to Support Our Students

Can you believe we are almost halfway through the 2021-22 school year? The end of the school year will be here before we know it! As we enter the New Year, I want to remind each of you of our investments in, and our continued commitment to, each of our 44,000 students.

 

Because of state and federal COVID dollars, we have been able to direct additional funds to supporting our students, investing in ways to accelerate or intervene to support students where they are in their studies, and invest in our employees through professional development and additional time working together in Professional Learning Communities.

 

We received an additional $93 million from state Expanded Learning Opportunities funds, state “In-Person Instruction” funds, and Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief funds have been targeted for a wide variety of uses that go directly to classrooms:

 

  • Class size reduction in elementary and middle schools
  • Increased sections for secondary schools
  • Additional Paraeducators for combination classrooms in elementary
  • Additional Paraeducators for Transitional Kinder classrooms
  • Professional learning for teachers in multiple areas
  • Multi-Tiered System of Support specialists at every elementary school to support site intervention systems and programs
  • Elementary Physical Education (PE) program to provide an improved PE curriculum and to support increased teacher collaboration to effectively establish intervention systems
  • Technology equipment (projectors, sound systems, software)
  • General operational and safety (MERV 13 filters, disinfectant, personal protective equipment)
  • Summer school programs 

Teachers are using data to understand the learning needs of every student and building interventions to meet those needs. As I have observed classrooms, students are working in small groups with their teacher and Paraeducators to support their individual learning needs and credential PE teachers are supporting our elementary students in their physical education classes. Students are engaged, excited, and learning.

 

I am proud of these investments to support our students and I am deeply encouraged by the wonderful work of our teachers, classified staff, and administrators in implementing these supports in our classrooms.

 

Acts of Giving

We have worked through some very challenging times this last year and you have been amazing at adapting, encouraging, and remaining focused on our mission to educate young people. It is so inspiring! As we have experienced in this New Year, we will have to continue to be flexible and prepared for any new challenge, knowing that we can do this together.

 

2021 ended with a tremendous philanthropic effort. As we begin 2022, I want to share another type of giving that has been on my mind: the giving of ourselves. Throughout our community, I have been sharing the importance of giving grace, understanding, compassion, and kindness to others. How we treat each other is so important. We need to be fully inclusive, we need to acknowledge other perspectives, and we need to treat each other with respect, even if we do not agree. We also need to be kind to ourselves!

 

These acts of giving are so important throughout the entire year.

I want to thank all of you for your generous giving and for your tremendous partnership in this educational journey with your students. Happy New Year!

 

Sincerely,

 

Kirsten Vital Brulte
Superintendent