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Community Message October 23: Winter Event Safety, Recognitions and Support


October 23, 2021


Good evening WCCUSD Community,

As we head into the winter months and the weather gets colder and wetter, we want to share with you guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to schools regarding events during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We know that this time of year there typically are lots of events happening on our school campuses, such as school performances, dances and harvest festivals. 

The CDPH guidance reminds us that: 

School dances, large assemblies, and other school-based crowded events have the potential to cause substantial spread of COVID-19 within and beyond the school community. Schools are encouraged to consult with local health officials before deciding to host such events, particularly in communities where COVID-19 remains highly prevalent and/or vaccination rates remain low. 

We are sharing additional information from CDPH with our district principals to ensure our schools are hosting safe events on campus. While we understand the strong desire from school communities to gather together after so many months apart, the safety of our students, staff and families remains our top priority. 

While we are diligently working to keep schools open and safe, the students and staff are thriving across the district. Here are some amazing happenings in the district this week.


Multipurpose Family Income Forms

We need every family to complete the Multipurpose Family Income Forms by October 31.  Before the pandemic, we relied on in-person contact to connect with families, including assistance with the Multipurpose Family Income Forms. Last year, we encouraged all  families to complete the forms to maintain our percentage above 70%. We need that same focus again to ensure our percentage does not decrease funding.

A loss of a resource in that amount means that schools will feel the impact. We can control this by completing the form and sharing the news about the forms’ importance with WCCUSD’s community. 

Many schools in the district use the funding to purchase books, software programs, fund field trips, materials and supplies, and services that directly impact students.

We need everyone, REGARDLESS of income, to complete the form. Even if you don’t qualify, we still need you to check a box that says, “I do not qualify.”

The State continues  to allow us to collect, verify, and submit the MFIF form  over the phone. The District’s school community outreach workers, office managers, and attendance clerks began reaching out again this week to families that have not completed the form.

We need families to contact their schools and ensure we have your best contact information (email, text, or phone) and expect a call from us about the forms. If you have completed the forms, please share the news and encourage other families in your network to complete the forms.



Richmond High School Drumline Wins 1st Place in Santa Cruz Marching Band Competition

The Richmond High School drumline is making sure it's heard throughout the state.

The drumline, led by Richmond High School Band Director Andrew Wilke, took first place in the 50th Santa Cruz Band Review Marching Band Competition on Saturday, October 16.

“Events like (Santa Cruz Band Review) empower WCCUSD students not only by showing them a glimpse of the world beyond our city limits, but showing them that they can thrive in that world,” Wilke said. “It is important that we are representing our city in a positive light to other communities throughout the state.”

This is the third year that the Richmond’s band has participated in the musical parade and their second award. The band earned second place in the 2019 competition. 

The Oilers were one of over 50 high school and middle schools in Northern California that participated in the annual musical parade. The bands were judged in categories such as music, showmanship, and marching. [read more]

Kennedy High Teacher Receives $50k Teaching Excellence Award
Benjamin Carpenter, a welding teacher from Richmond, was named the 2021 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence recipient, winning $15,000 for himself and $35,000 for the Kennedy High School welding program.

Carpenter, who has taught welding at Kennedy for 2.5 years, is one of 15 prize winners. Additionally, three grand prize winners together with their schools will receive $100,000 each. 

The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence was launched in 2017 by Eric Smidt, the founder of national tool retailer Harbor Freight Tools, to recognize outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools. 

“I believe that we have responsibilities to younger generations, particularly those who are underserved. It is a happy coincidence that my skill set is currently in demand, and I can’t think of a better way to contribute to the success of future generations than giving young people knowledge and skills that will improve their lives and communities,” said Carpenter.

Thanks to Chevron for their generous support in remodeling the Kennedy welding lab and providing ongoing support for students.

PSAT/SAT Testing Site
We have received a number of questions from students, parents, and community members inquiring about the administration of the College Board’s PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT in WCCUSD for the 2021-22 school year.

For this 2021-22 school year, WCCUSD will not be hosting the PSAT/NMSQT test administration at school sites.  WCCUSD previously participated in the SAT School Day program, in which WCCUSD students in 10th-11th grade took the PSAT/NMSQT exam and all 12th graders took the SAT exam during the school day at their site. However, factors like budget cuts, ruling from the California Supreme Court, and feedback from site administrators and school counselors influenced the decision to not participate in the administration of the SAT School Day for this fall 2021 semester.

The district has submitted applications to the College Board to host the SAT on Saturdays and El Cerrito High School has recently been approved as a test site center. The SAT administration at El Cerrito High School will occur on March 12, 2022.  Visit the District’s website to learn more about registering for the test.

Digital Citizenship Week:  How can I help my student stay safe online? Talk about it.

Though we can't always be with our students to prevent dangerous behavior online, our words really can resonate with them. It is important to remind students that they should not participate in any online activities that can cause harm to self or others (including property). Families are encouraged to talk with their students about the potential risks of social media challenges or trends and the potential school consequences as a result of participating in these kinds of dangerous social media activities.

Say, "If you ever want to do an internet challenge or trend, let's talk about it first."

Filipino American History Month

October is Filipino American History month and we want to recognize the Filipino American students and staff in WCCUSD, and honor the history of Filipino American solidarity in their fight for equity and justice. We celebrate the cultural enrichments and historical contributions of Filipino Americans to our nation and District. 


Vaccine Clinics Near You
Students, staff and community volunteers have until January 3 to become fully vaccinated. Thanks to the secondary schools, the District will host a series of vaccination clinics to support efforts to ensure everyone is vaccinated in WCCUSD. 

Our neighbors at the William Jenkins Health Center, will host a vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 30 for the entire community. This is one of two clinics that are available to community members. Thanks to LifeLong Medical Care for partnering with us to ensure that vaccine clinics are available in the WCCUSD. For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit

COVID is still an ongoing global outbreak, and we must do our part to slow the spread of the virus. As we enter the cold and flu season, we urge everyone to stay safe and continue to practice the district and CDPH guidelines.

In community,

Kenneth Chris Hurst Sr., Ed.D