Local Education News

Unprecedented California budget to usher in sweeping education changes – EdSource - Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature have seized a once-in-a-generation deluge of state and federal funding to set in motion a sweeping and ambitious set of education programs that seemed implausible six months ago.

Where California’s education funding is going – EdSource - The state’s K-12 and higher education systems will receive a record-level influx of new money.

California backtracks, will let local schools decide how to enforce mask requirement – EdSource - Late Monday, hours after issuing the guidance, the California Department of Public Health rescinded its order for schools to send home students who refuse to wear masks indoors at schools.

How California’s new universal transitional kindergarten program will be rolled out – EdSource - In the wake of the pandemic, which shined a spotlight on the essential nature of early childhood education and care, universal transitional kindergarten is poised to become a reality in California.

Senate Democrats Announce $3.5 Trillion Budget Agreement– NPR - This larger bill includes ambitious plans to fund child care, health care and education priorities, which the administration argues fit under a broader definition of infrastructure.

New RUSD superintendent comes home – Mountain Democrat/Village Life – Lifelong El Dorado County resident Jim Shoemake has been selected by the Rescue Union School District’s Board of Trustees to serve as superintendent of the transitional kindergarten through eighth-grade district that serves 3,500 students spanning Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Rescue and Shingle Springs… “This is a promising time for RUSD. In this past year, RUSD has exemplified what it means to care for the well-being and achievement of all students.” El Dorado County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ed Manansala noted. “With Superintendent Shoemake’s expertise and personal commitment to the school-community, he will ensure that RUSD remains on a path of growth and excellence for every student and educator.”

El Dorado County Republican Women Federated award scholarships to local grads – Mountain Democrat - El Dorado County Republican Women Federated awarded two, $750 scholarships to El Dorado County graduates: George Kucera of Ponderosa High School and Dylan Souza of El Dorado High School.  They competed with local high school seniors who plan to further their education in fall 2021.

Placerville Shakespeare Club celebrates scholarship winners – Mountain Democrat - The Placerville Shakespeare Club recently hosted its 2021 scholarship winners and families to an afternoon tea at the Bedford Avenue historical clubhouse… Juliana Munoz from Ponderosa High School will attend California State University, Long Beach, majoring in social work with a business minor.

Soroptimist club hands out scholarships to deserving young women – Village Life - Soroptimist International Cameron Park/El Dorado Hills has awarded $1,000 scholarships to four local seniors. Recipients from Ponderosa High School are Kylie Cox and Alyssa Fong and recipients from Oak Ridge High School are Jessica Polson and Victoria Kolanski. All students have plans to attend college in the fall.

Students learn in global context – Village Life - Students at Camerado Springs Middle School and Valley View Charter Montessori are being encouraged to think critically and drive their own learning through a newly validated International Baccalaureate program. The two-year long process involved the articulation of policies and practices, including course offerings and lesson design… For example, sixth-graders at Camerado Springs were tasked with selling real estate in Mesopotamia as one of their final projects.

On the Rise: Dina Gentry – Comstock Magazine - It started with “The American President.” Dina Gentry watched that 1995 movie for the first time as a child, and when Michael Douglas’ character, President Andrew Shepherd, gave his rousing speech at the end, she thought to herself, “I want to be a speech writer for the president of the United States.”

D’Agostini to retire after three terms – Mountain Democrat - El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini announced his retirement Friday — his last term will end Dec. 31, 2022.

CDC issues guidance on masks in classrooms, but here’s what California schools will do – Sacramento Bee - The CDC issued new guidance for schools on Friday, saying that vaccinated students and teachers could remain unmasked during in-person learning. But mask mandates will not be going away just yet in California schools, according to the California Department of Public Health. In new guidance issued Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reiterated its priority that all schools return to in-person learning in the fall after more than a year of distance learning because of the coronavirus pandemic.

California voters give schools and teachers top grades in year-end survey – EdSource - Despite perceptions of the public’s widespread unhappiness with the slow reopening of California’s schools last spring, most voters surveyed, including parents, gave the highest marks in a decade of polling to the state’s public schools in general and their schools in particular.

Teachers reflect on how students are doing after returning to school – EdSource - From April 30 through May 20, 2021, Teacher Consultant Response Network members responded to a survey about their experiences with the reopening of their schools for in-person instruction amid the waning coronavirus pandemic.

California directs districts to offer remote independent study this fall – EdSource - With the pandemic still reverberating across California, districts must offer students an independent study option this fall, but with improvements to what was offered during the shutdown and pre-pandemic.

CDC Updates Guidelines To Protect Kids From COVID In School – NPR - It's only July, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is focusing on the coming school year, and its message is clear: It wants students back in the classroom. Today the agency issued updated guidance for K-12 schools, highlighting the importance of getting as many eligible kids vaccinated as possible in order to return classrooms to normal, or near normal.

Lake Tahoe Unified School District bus driver retires after 35 years of safely transporting kids – South Tahoe Now - This Friday, June 18, will be Gale Lawrence's last day of driving a big yellow school bus through the streets of South Lake Tahoe. For 35 years (33 as a full-time driver, 2 as a substitute), Gale has safely delivered students in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District (LTUSD) between home and school.

Mother Lode Lions award scholarships – Mountain Democrat - Seven scholarships totaling $7,500 have been awarded to Union Mine students, with two of those renewals for students already enrolled in college.

Pollock Pines-Camino Rotary Club hands out scholarships – Mountain Democrat - The Pollock Pines-Camino Rotary Club announces the winners of the club’s 2021 scholarships. The honors go to Gabriel Aguilar, Thomas Carlson and Madeline Dufour. All are residents of Pollock Pines-Camino and graduates of El Dorado High School.

Drive on: Countywide education transportation drivers celebratedMountain Democrat - The El Dorado County Schools Transportation Council recently partnered with the El Dorado County Office of Education to host the Driver Appreciation Parade to demonstrate how much value school transportation teams contribute to education in El Dorado County. On the EDCOE main campus in Placerville, cars lined up under a balloon arch, were greeted with festively painted signs and El Dorado County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ed Manansala.

Junior Livestock Auction this weekend – Mountain Democrat - The 2021 Junior Livestock Show & Auction takes place at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville, June 18-20… Union Mine Future Farmers of America member Abbigayle O’Neill shared with the Mountain Democrat her experience raising farm animals.

Educators honored – Village Life - The Rotary Club of El Dorado Hills recently teamed up with Oak Ridge High School, Rescue Union School District and Buckeye Union School District to celebrate Educators of the Year. “Educators are my heroes,” said Aaron Palm, president of EDH Rotary and principal of ORHS.

Bread & Broth 4 Kids starts summer food program June 23 – South Tahoe Now - The 2021 St. Theresa Bread & Broth 4 Kids (BB4K) summer program begins June 23 and will continue every Wednesday through August 25 in South Lake Tahoe.

CAO’s budget gets thumbs up – Village Life - El Dorado County has a new budget for next fiscal year, probably. Supervisors unanimously (5-0) approved the chief administrative officer’s recommended budget during a special hearing June 7.

BBBS of Northern Sierra golf tourney a success – Mountain Democrat/Village Life - Big Brothers Big Sisters raised more than $100,000 for mentorship programs from the local nonprofit agency’s ninth annual Golf For Kids’ Sake fundraiser held in May.

Legislature passes placeholder budget to buy time for a deal with Gov. Newsom – EdSource - The Legislature passed a state budget Monday that is a placeholder to satisfy a June 15 constitutional deadline and enables lawmakers to keep getting paid. The Senate passed it 30-8 and the Assembly 57-15 after about an hour of discussion in each chamber.

Why training California bilingual teachers just got harder – EdSource – A program that prepares bilingual teachers for the growing number of dual-language classrooms in California is set to end this month, potentially worsening a chronic bilingual teacher shortage.

What Is Critical Race Theory, and Why Is It Under Attack? – Education Week - Is “critical race theory” a way of understanding how American racism has shaped public policy, or a divisive discourse that pits people of color against white people? Liberals and conservatives are in sharp disagreement.

5 questions about teaching critical race theory as bans spread – District Administration - The everyday experience of racism by people of color in the U.S. anchors critical race theory, the social justice philosophy facing bans in a growing number of states.

Senate Unanimously Approves A Bill To Make Juneteenth A Public Holiday – NPR - …The measure is expected to be approved by the Democratic-led House of Representatives as well, but the timing is unclear.

Biden Administration Extends Protections To Transgender Students – NPR - The U.S. Education Department on Wednesday expanded its interpretation of federal sex protections to include transgender and gay students, a move that reverses Trump-era policy and stands against proposals in many states to bar transgender girls from school sports.

BOMUSD top students honored – Georgetown Gazette - A special ceremony was held at the May 13 meeting of the Black Oak Mine Unified School District Board of Trustees to recognize outstanding students from all district schools. Superintendent Meyers began the ceremony by saying, “We are here to honor students who stand out among standouts. It’s a privilege to be able to present these students to you and to talk about what we see. These students didn’t get to be exceptional young men and women by accident. They are reflections of their parents, family and friends.

Congrats to the class of 2021 (photo gallery) – Georgetown Gazette - The 2021 graduating class of Golden Sierra High School gathers for a class photo. Commencement ceremonies for Golden Sierra’s graduating seniors will be June 3. Ceremonies for Black Oak Mine Unified School District’s American River Charter School grads were held May 25 and Divide High’s commencement will be June 1. Courtesy photo

Gold Trail Grange awards Isabella Richardson – Georgetown Gazette - Gold Trail Grange in Coloma announced its 2021 scholarship recipients. The scholars’ rigorous class loads, impressive grades, extracurricular activities and community service were the norm, not the exception… One of Golden Sierra’s best scholar athletes, Isabella Richardson has consistently challenged herself by taking AP and honors classes.

Golden Sierra talent earns scholarships – Georgetown Gazette - More than $118,000 in scholarships were awarded to 21 Golden Sierra High School seniors at a special event May 18.  The Black Oak Mine Unified School District and Board of Trustees thank the following businesses, organizations and individuals for their contributions and commitment to these young men and women.

They did it! (photo gallery)– Mountain Democrat - Ponderosa High School graduates toss their caps in the air in celebration as graduation ceremonies came to a close for the class of 2021. Grads donned caps and gowns Friday and Saturday to receive their diplomas and mark a milestone achievement. After traditional commencement ceremonies were canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, graduates this year walked across the stage as their names were called with friends and family watching and cheering.

EDCOE’s Extended Day team honored with an Excellence in Education award – Mountain Democrat - During the El Dorado County Office of Education’s annual Team Member Recognition event, the entire Extended Day Team was recognized for tireless efforts this past year. Lori Scalaro, program manager for the EDCOE Charter Extended Day Program, accepted the award on behalf of the team. “I have the privilege to have worked for this program for 19 years and I am honored to work alongside all of our team members,” she said.

Becca Kaldunski honored with an EDCOE Excellence in Education award – Mountain Democrat - At the El Dorado County Office of Education’s annual Team Member Recognition event via Zoom, Becca Kaldunski received an Excellence in Education Award for her steadfast commitment and contributions throughout her career at EDCOE. “I am truly honored to be a part of amazing and hard-working teams here at EDCOE,” Kaldunski said after receiving her award. “I am humbled and inspired each and every day. Together, we truly can make a difference, no matter what challenges are set before us.”

Fore! kids’ sake – Mountain Democrat - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Sierra’s ninth Golf for Kids’ Sake tournament took over the links at Serrano Country Club Monday. Sponsor teams and other participants were challenged with hole-in-one and putting contests.

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces New Statewide Benefit Program to Help Feed Children Amid Child Care Closures – CDE press release - State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved California’s plan to launch a new food assistance program for young children up to age six whose access to healthy meals has been impacted due to the pandemic.

Budget proposal would ease testing requirements for California teachers – EdSource - California teachers may soon have more flexibility when it comes to the tests they are required to take to earn a credential.

Legislature looks to expand financial aid at California's colleges – EdSource - California’s financial aid programs would be expanded, and fewer out-of-state students would be able to attend the University of California, under a budget proposal announced Tuesday by state legislators.

Senate and Assembly cut, then add, billions to Gov. Newsom's budget for K-12 – EdSource - The Assembly and Senate budget committees Tuesday jointly recommended billions of dollars of both spending cuts and additions for K-12 in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 state budget.

More help for struggling California child care sector – EdSource - The California Legislature took steps Tuesday to respond to the calls of the state’s child care sector to increase what the state pays to support the system.

California bilingual programs ready to grow after slowing during pandemic – EdSource - The pandemic slowed down many California school districts’ expansion of bilingual education programs, putting some new bilingual programs on hold.

Kudos: South Tahoe Middle School PTA thanks those contributing to Teacher Appreciation Week – South Tahoe Now - On behalf of the South Tahoe Middle Schools PTA, I would first like to send a huge “THANK YOU” to all the staff at South Tahoe Middle School for their amazing dedication to our kids and our school. Also deserving of a big thank you are the local businesses who donated to this year's Staff Appreciation Week celebration.

Brenda Caldie to retire after 45 years of service – Georgetown Gazette - Georgetown School’s beloved secretary Brenda Caldie is retiring after 45 years of service to staff, families and students. “I’m grateful for these many years and I don’t want to leave but I need to give someone else the pleasure of stepping into this position I have loved for all these years,” Caldie said.

Summer School for Divide Students – Georgetown Gazette (attached) – Black Oak Mine is leading the way once again by conducting summer school for its students… Students were invited to participate based on assessment scores, need and interest.

Exciting state-of-the-art classes at Golden Sierra – Georgetown Gazette (attached) – “I didn’t really know anything about engineering until this class,” said Luke Gross. “Now, after high school I’m going to become a mechatronic engineer.”… Students are waiting in line to sign up for Pete DeLosa’s classes in the Career and Technical Department at Golden Sierra Junkior Senior High School.

Masks at BOMUSD – Georgetown Gazette (attached) – Message from Superintendent Jeremy Meyers: Dear Black Oak Mine Families, I am certain you are hearing lots of news regarding the wearing of masks and want to assure you we are too.  This is all moving very quickly, including messaging from the Governor and the CDC. 

Kids’ Expo sees smiles – Mountain Democrat (photo gallery) – EDCOE was well represented at the Kids’ Expo with Jesus Cordova, Betsy Bateson, Melissa Kistler, Patricia Gordon, andrea Boyer and Carley Stallings. EDCOE provided activity packets, crayons, finger puppets and youth program and other information.

Placerville Shakespeare Club awards scholarships – Mountain Democrat - This year’s Placerville Shakespeare Club Scholarships were awarded to Anneke Rorden and Ryleigh Praken of Union Mine High School, Mekenna Patterson of El Dorado High School and Juliana Munoz of Ponderosa High School. The selected students are not only outstanding academically but very active in school and community activities.

oys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe receives $200,000 from City's cannabis revenue – South Tahoe Now - During its Tuesday evening meeting, the South Lake Tahoe City Council voted to give the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe $200,000 for its building fund.

Boys and Girls Club receives donation for new building from Kiwanis Club of Tahoe Sierra – South Tahoe Now - he Kiwanis Club of Tahoe Sierra has donated $1000 from their Meat Raffle fundraiser to the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe's (BGCLT) "Building Bright Futures” project.

Board of Supervisors Urges Public to Direct COVID-19 Complaints to State Decision Makers – EDC press release - As Governor Newsom's June 15th deadline for the State to fully open its economy gets closer, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors reminds residents that it has been and currently remains the Governor's Administration which determines COVID-19 related restrictions and guidelines.

State of the County: Pandemic led to increased tax revenues, funding to aid homeless – Mountain Democrat - At the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week District 1 Supervisor and Board Chair John Hidahl delivered the State of the County address, sharing that the county is in good shape and has a much brighter outlook for the future than expected.

California to drop social distancing requirements in June – Associated Press - California no longer will require social distancing and will allow full capacity for businesses when the state reopens on June 15, the state’s top health official said Friday.

Beyond the Blueprint for Industry and Business Sectors - Effective June 15 – CDPH press release - When California fully reopens the economy, the state will move beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Beginning June 15, all sectors listed in the current Blueprint Activities and Business Tiers Chart may return to usual operations (with the limited exceptions noted below for Mega Events) based on the following general public health recommendations:

California pension plans would get an ‘unprecedented’ boost in Newsom’s budget. Here’s how – Sacramento Bee - Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that his budget would put $11 billion toward California’s retirement debts, a sum he called “unprecedented.” That’s true. But California voters deserve much of the credit for this portion of fiscal prudence in the governor’s budget.

Schools across California become pop-up vaccination sites – EdSource - Fifteen-year-old Felipe Caceres isn’t fond of shots and needles. But when his school district in Davis opened a vaccine clinic for students his age, he quickly hopped in line.

After a rough year, senior formal this spring was both joyous, bittersweet – EdSource - Lauren’s mother helped her pick the sleek satin gown a year ago – blue to match Lauren’s eyes. Lauren planned to wear the dress at her high school prom last year when she was a junior, but school officials canceled the event at the last minute due to the pandemic.

How California college savings accounts sow the seeds of higher learning at a young age – EdSource - Giving low-income youth college savings accounts at a young age has emerged as a strategy across California to not only help families build financial assets, but also stoke tangible college aspirations.

California math curriculum spurs new controversy about accelerated learning – EdSource - California has a math problem. Nearly a decade after Common Core math standards were adopted in California, the majority of K-12 students are not yet meeting grade-level benchmarks, and Black and Latino students are underrepresented in rigorous accelerated programs.

Long-dormant anti-spending law to yield one-time bonanza for schools – EdSource - Call it another twist of fortune in a post-pandemic run of riches. For the first time in four decades, a Proposition 13-era initiative designed to limit government spending could generate an additional $8 billion for schools and community colleges already flush with funding.

Quick Guide: Where do things stand on in-person instruction in California? – EdSource - This guide provides answers to frequently asked questions about how California is moving forward with plans for reopening the state’s K-12 schools. We will continue to update it as the situation evolves.

What happens when California students in special education return to the classroom? – EdSource - “The burnout is real. Teachers have been working long hours, with extra stress … their personal and professional lives have been upended by the pandemic. They’ve been heroes throughout this, and it’s been very hard,” said Amy Andersen, director of personnel services for the El Dorado County Office of Education, who with her colleagues co-wrote a commentary for Policy Analysis for California Education on the challenges of reopening schools for students in special education.

South Tahoe High students to host musical performances – Tahoe Tribune/South Tahoe Now - The South Tahoe High School drama department starting on Friday will host several shows over the next couple of weeks. Students will perform “The Drowsy Chaperone” through livestream with the first show at 7 p.m. Friday, May 14. The Drowsy Chaperone is an homage to American musicals of the Jazz Age.

South Tahoe High School students to build tiny houses for community – Tahoe Tribune - A new school project will not only help students get real world work experience, it will also make a small dent in South Lake Tahoe’s housing problem. Starting next year, students at South Tahoe High School who are in the construction path of career technical education will begin building tiny houses.

Tahoe students address plastic problem; inspire change in Raley’s – Tahoe Tribune - To support efforts to reduce plastic waste, students from environmental clubs at four high schools in the region partnered with staff from local nonprofits to learn about plastic reduction programs and how they can help take care of Lake Tahoe… When the initiative began, students from North Tahoe, Truckee, Incline and South Tahoe high schools learned about the prolific microplastics problem impacting Lake Tahoe…

Goal achieved! — Inclusion Game takes the field – Mountain Democrat - As announcer Logan Murdock yelled “goal” into the El Dorado High School PA system, the entire crowd cheered Cory Gutierrez’ score to put El Dorado High School up 1-0 over Union Mine High School at the 2021 Inclusion Game, which is part of Northern California Special Olympics.

Rescue superintendent says goodbye to a ‘special place’ – Mountain Democrat - After 41 years working in education, Cheryl Olson is exchanging her California lifestyle for Rocky Mountain air. The Rescue Union School District superintendent announced her retirement earlier this spring, saying goodbye to her many years in the California school system.

Live theater comes to Studio 81 – Mountain Democrat - Taking a musical look at how all lives are interconnected, El Dorado High School’s Studio 81 presents “Theory of Relativity” from Drama Desk Award nominees Neil Bertram (music and lyrics) and Brian Hill (book). The show runs May 13-15 and May 20-22 at 8 p.m. in the Carl Borelli Amphitheater at the Placerville high school.

Latrobe School District names new superintendent/principal – Mountain Democrat - The Latrobe School District announces that David Scroggins will become the district’s new superintendent/principal on July 1. He will replace Natalie Miller, current superintendent/principal, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Carly Turnboo Shipman Memorial Scholarship recipients announced – Mountain Democrat - Each year the family of Carly Turnboo Shipman awards a scholarship in the amount of $1,000 to an El Dorado High School senior in memory of its namesake. Carly grew up in Placerville and attended El Dorado High School graduating as ASB president in 2010.

Gold Trail Grange awards 2021 scholarships – Mountain Democrat - Gold Trail Grange in Coloma announced its 2021 scholarship recipients. The scholars’ rigorous class loads, impressive grades, extracurricular activities and community service were the norm, not the exception.

Students in grades 1-3 to get more time in school – Georgetown Gazette - Editor’s note: The following is a message to Black Oak Mine Unified School District families from Superintendent Jeremy Meyers. Prior to the pandemic, the Black Oak Mine Unified School District was considering the transition to a uniform schedule for grades first through sixth. In past years, students in grades TK-3 had a shorter school day.

Aja Brunet Awarded Placerville Kiwanis Student Service Leader of the Month – Windfall Magazine (attached)/Mountain Democrat - Aja Brunet, Co-Vice President of the El Dorado High School (EDHS) Key Club, was honored with the Placerville Kiwanis Student Service Leader of the Month award for April. Aja is a sophomore and has served in the key club for two years. During the Zoom presentation, she excitedly received the award with her dad by her side and expressed, “I just want to say thank you. I love Kiwanis and the opportunities that you make possible for our Club and members like me.”

EDC stays in orange tier; 43% of residents receive at least one dose of vaccine – Mountain Democrat - Although case rates are hovering at about 8 to 9 per 100,000 people, El Dorado County will remain in the orange tier, according to El Dorado County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams.

California could end workplace social distancing and mask requirement by August – Sacramento Bee - California workers won’t have to physically distance themselves from each other at workplaces starting in August under a proposed update to the state COVID-19 safety rules. The proposal, which would adjust California workplace regulat