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Superintendent's Community Message: Winter Break Begins, School Safety, Vaccine Mandate Extension
Good morning WCCUSD Community,
We made it to the start of winter break! We hope that you take some time to enjoy your loved ones and get some rest and relaxation. You deserve it. As you head into the break, please take a moment to view my personal message to you.
The last Friday before winter break was a delight for Grant Elementary School. Santa paid a special visit to six classrooms to hand out wrapped presents and pose for pictures with TK and kindergartners.
For over 20 years, the District’s purchasing department has led the Santa toy giveaway program as a way to interact with students.
Each year since, kindergartners at one school per year are adopted by the team, who collects wrapped presents from employees in the District's administration building and facilities operation center. Kindergarteners at the selected school make Christmas tree ornaments with their pictures on them that the teams at both buildings select and then purchase a gift for the student.
Thank you to Santa, Juan Contreras in Business Services, and his Purchasing Department helpers for delivering the toys to students and continuing the WCCUSD tradition.
VACCINE MANDATE EXTENSION
At its regular meeting last night, the WCCUSD Board of Education trustees voted to extend the district’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline for students to February 18, 2022.
We thank everyone who has gotten vaccinated and submitted their student’s vaccination card, and we applaud everyone in our community for their effort to vaccinate as many students as possible.
While families now have more time, we will continue to operate with a sense of urgency to vaccinate students as soon as possible. Experts agree that the fastest way out of the pandemic is vaccination, and the safety of our students and staff is our top priority. We will continue to partner with Contra Costa County Health Services to provide vaccine clinics on our school sites in 2022. Click here to see Vaccine Clinic Resources.
If you missed out on a chance to win during our last raffle, we will be having another one in January! Look out for more information following the holiday break.
If you have yet to submit your student’s vaccination card, please do so here.
For more information on WCCUSD’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, please visit our website: www.wccusd.net/vaccinemandate.
CONNECTEDNESS AND SAFETY
Student relationships and connectedness to school are extremely important to establishing safe and supportive school environments. We know that students are just as affected as adults by traumatic national and local events. Some young people are affected even more, even if no one realizes it. As a District, we want to acknowledge the recent uptick of school pranks, including pranks regarding possible school violence and school shootings. We also want to acknowledge that there have been many unknowns during the last two years which have had great impacts on our young people and great community. We know that students may have many feelings; including feelings of fear, anxiety, and sadness. We want to ensure that all of our students know that space is available at school to process these feelings and to be heard and validated.
Currently, we are:
- Re-examining our school crisis team structure to ensure that our crisis response is collaborative and involves our greater community.
- Gathering information from sites regarding the crisis response systems to better understand the needs of our students and community.
- Working with secondary executive directors and site leaders to identify dates for parent, student, and community forums regarding school climate and safety.
- Working with school sites to ensure that school sites re-teach safety expectations on campus and re-identify supports on campus available to students.
- Working with community partners to establish support systems for students in and out of school.
In the interim, if any student needs additional support to process recent events and/or needs an adult to check in with, we ask that you contact your school administrative team. If support is not available on campus, we will ensure that support is provided to school sites. We are committed to working together to create a positive school climate.
Effective 2021-2022, WCCUSD has aligned the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Course Placement and Sequences with WCCUSD’s own math course progressions.
The WCCUSD Math Department recommends the CCSS-M course sequence of Course 1 (Math 6), Course 2 (Math 7), and Course 3 (Math 8) for all students. In addition, the CDE recommends that even strong mathematics students should consider NOT skipping ahead to Algebra I in middle school. Reasons include:
The Course 1, 2, 3 sequence is focused, coherent, and rigorous.
The grade-eight standards in the CA CCSSM are significantly more rigorous than the Algebra I course that many students took in eighth grade. (SBAC examples for Course 3)
The new Algebra I course builds on grade-eight standards and is therefore more advanced than the previous courses.
The University of California Board of Admissions “strongly urges students not to race to calculus at the cost of full mastery of the earlier math curriculum.” They commend “the Common Core's goal of deeper understanding of the mathematical concepts taught at each K-12 grade level.“ Statement on the Impact of Calculus on UC Admissions
For more information about CCSS-M: 2013 Mathematics Framework Chapters - (CA Dept of Education)
ALL students will have the opportunity to take advanced mathematics courses in high school. WCCUSD will provide various opportunities for acceleration in high school. Here are a few examples of such acceleration:
High school math departments will coordinate with counselors to describe to students the various acceleration options available. WCCUSD is also working to align with recent changes in UC’s A-G high school articulation policy to expand choices of advanced mathematics courses from which students can select based on their interests and future aspirations. Probable courses to include Data Science and Advanced Algebra with Financial Applications.
Apply for the 2022 Chevron Black Employee Network Scholarship Program
The Chevron Black Employee Network invites high school students in WCCUSD to participate in the 2021 Chevron Richmond Black History Awareness Committee Scholarship Program. Since 2004, the Chevron Richmond Black Employee Network (BEN) has awarded over 40 scholarships to deserving high school students from the West Contra Costa Unified School District. Funding for the scholarships is provided by Chevron Richmond’s Policy, Government & Public Affairs (PGPA) department in partnership with the Richmond Black History Awareness Committee (BHAC). The scholarship is given in honor of Dr. William F. King. Dr. King is a distinguished African American Chemical Engineer who retired from Chevron in 2003.
The deadline to apply for the scholarship is January 17, 2022. All required documents must be received as requested.
Take the WCCUSD Website Survey
We want to hear from you! The WCCUSD communications team is working to improve the district website to ensure everyone in the community can access information about schools, programs and services.
We are launching this survey this week to collect your feedback. Any upgrades we make to the website will be reflective of the WCCUSD community’s ideas. Thank you for taking the time to complete this five-minute survey.
EdFund 2021-22 Teaching Excellence Award Nominations Now Open
For more than 30 years, the Ed Fund has recognized the district's best teachers through the Teaching Excellence Awards. With the return to in-person learning, the Ed Fund wants to acknowledge and celebrate the tremendous work our teachers have done and continue to do throughout the West Contra Costa Unified School District to support our students. This year, we are proud to announce the 2021-2022 Teaching Excellence Awards. Our 2021-2022 nomination form is now open! Please submit your nomination(s) by December 31, 2021.
WCCUSD’s Independent Redistricting Commission Seeks Applicants for Trustee Area 2 Commissioner Seat
The West Contra Costa Unified School District Redistricting Commission is an independent body tasked with analyzing the 2020 Census Data and reviewing and revising the Trustee Area boundaries for the 2022-2030 elections for the Board of Education. The commission consists of seven members representing each of the five trustee areas and two members who are residents of Contra Costa County but live outside of the district boundaries. The Commission will perform all or nearly all of its work between now and March 1, 2022.
The Commission seat for Trustee Area 2, which encompasses Kennedy High School and other portions of Richmond, is currently vacant, and the District is soliciting applications for that position. All interested individuals should apply. The application is available here. English | Spanish. Service on the Commission does not require any prior experience with redistricting or any particular subject matter expertise.
Kenneth Chris Hurst, Ed.D