2019 Schools as Voting Places
Please see the attached letter from the California Department of Education and the California Secretary of State regarding schools as voting locations and student poll workers.
Annual Organizational Meeting Information - Due December 21, 2019
Attached you will find forms to be completed at the annual organizational meeting of your governing board. The organizational meeting must be held on a day within 15 days of the second Friday in December (between December 13 and December 27, 2019) in accordance with Education Code Section 35143 as reviewed in the Legal Update from School and College Legal Services.
- Certificate of Election of Officers of Governing Board (yellow card): Please designate the newly elected President, Vice President (optional), District Clerk, and Trustee Representative/Member, Marin County School Boards Association Board of Directors. Please return the completed card to the Marin County Office of Education.
- State of California Statement of Facts: The Statement of Facts form is to be filled out after your organization meeting. Please return the completed form to the Marin County Office of Education for distribution.
- Signature Card: If you have new board members, please fill out and have them sign this card. Please return the completed card to the Marin County Office of Education.
- Updated Trustee Contact Information: Could you please forward any updates regarding contact information for your board members to our office. You can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The County Superintendent's Office would greatly appreciate receiving your materials by December 20, 2019 so that we are able to meet the requirements for submission to the Secretary of State. Please contact that office if you have questions or you need additional information - email@example.com or call 415-499-5801. Thank you!
Recovery of Instructional Days Due to Emergency Closures
School districts are normally required to provide at least 180 days of instruction, both for ADA and Instructional Time Credit for certificated staff. Education Code 46200 provides that if a school district offers less than 180 days of instruction, the Superintendent "shall withhold from the district's local control funding formula grant apportionment" a portion of the funding proportional to the reduction in ADA below 180 days.
2019-20 Distinguished Schools Eligibility
The California Department of Education (CDE) Distinguished Schools (DS) Award program recognizes elementary/K-8 and middle/high schools in alternate years, allowing eligible schools to apply for the award once every two years. The 2020 DS cycle will recognize eligible elementary/K-8 schools in one of two awards categories:
- Category 1: Closing the Achievement Gap
- Category 2: Exceptional Student Performance
Eligibility Criteria for each award category is based on school performance and progress on state indicators as identified in the 2018 California School Dashboard. Specific criteria can be found on the CDE’s Distinguished Schools webpage. The recently released eligibility list for the 2020 award does not include any Marin County schools.
Marin Leadership Institute One-Year Program
This is a one year (12 months) 2.5 semester program. The program will commence at the start of the Spring 2020 semester and conclude at the end of the Fall 2020 semester. All classes are hybrid/blended with face-to-face meetings scheduled every-other Saturday while PK-12 schools are in session. Participants will earn both a Tier 1 Preliminary Administrative Services Credential and a MA in Educational Administration and Leadership. Participants need to enroll as soon as possible by contacting Dr. Valerie Pitts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019 California School Dashboard: Rollout and Webinar Series
The California Department of Education released a notification related to the release of the California Dashboard and a webinar series. You will see the public release of the Dashboard is anticipated to be the week of December 9th. Although, on November 5th your Dashboard and Secure Accountability Coordinators will receive a link and single password to access password protected websites that contain the Dashboard Preview along with downloadable data files.
Sample Communication Regarding Immigrant Students
Please see the attached information related to managing issues of immigration at our campuses and administrative offices.
Honoring Religious Freedom - Note from our partners at the Anti-Defamation League
As the December holidays approach, we at ADL (Anti-Defamation League) -- one of the nation's premier organizations defending religious liberty -- know that many school administrators and teachers face the challenge of planning holiday programs and activities within and outside the classroom that demonstrate a respect for students of all faiths and religious beliefs. To help you comply with the United States Constitution and create a school environment that communicates respect for religious diversity, we offer the following guidelines for developing December holiday curricula:
- General Constitutional Rule: When a school chooses to acknowledge the December holidays, it must never appear to endorse or favor religion over non-religion or one faith over another.
- Diversity includes religious diversity. In designing holiday lessons and programming, keep in mind that the children entrusted to your care likely have widely divergent religious points of view. The way you approach the December holidays will determine whether children whose religious views fall outside of the majority's feel welcome and comfortable in the school or feel as if they do not belong.
- Public schools must not engage in activities that could involve religious coercion. Children are particularly susceptible to pressure to conform to the beliefs of the majority. Schools must take care to avoid endorsing the beliefs, practices or traditions of the majority or of any religion. Although certain activities may be legally permissible, they may not be inclusive. For example, asking elementary school students to write a letter to Santa Claus is legally permissible, but the assignment would exclude children who do not celebrate Christmas. A more inclusive approach would ask students to write a letter to someone important to them.
- Schools must be careful not to cross the line between teaching about religious holidays (which is permitted) and celebrating religious holidays (which is not). Celebrating religious holidays in the form of religious worship, instruction or proselytizing is unconstitutional. Teaching about a holiday, however, is constitutional if it furthers a genuine secular program of education, is presented objectively, and does not endorse, advance or inhibit religion.
- Special school events, assemblies, concerts and programs must be designed to further a secular and objective program of education and must not focus on any one religion or religious observance. Religious music or drama – particularly in the context of classical choral music - may be included in school events, but the reason for including that music or drama must be to advance a secular educational goal. Such events must not promote or denigrate any faith, serve as a religious celebration, or become a forum for religious devotion.
However, to ensure respect for diversity, when special school events include religious music or drama, every effort should be made to present a balanced and inclusive program. As a general practice (and it’s legally required in some states), public schools should excuse students who have a religious objection to performing in or attending school events that present religious music or drama.
- Religious symbols are not appropriate seasonal decorations in public schools. Children spend the majority of their days in classrooms and on school premises. It is important for all students to feel comfortable and accepted in their schools. Religious symbols of December holidays may make some students feel uncomfortable and unwelcome, because their holidays and traditions are not represented or because they do not celebrate religious holidays at all.
- In an effort to be inclusive, it is not advisable to seek or rely on information about a religion from a child of that faith. Students should never be asked to be spokespeople for their religious traditions. Not only might it make a child feel uncomfortable, but one student’s religious experience can never be generalized to the entire group. By asking a student or parent to be the spokesperson for their religion, a teacher may inadvertently convey to others that the religion is too "exotic" for the teacher to understand or explain. Furthermore, in certain cases, the teacher may be opening the door for proselytizing activity by the student or a parent, which must be avoided.
Enclosed is “ADL’s Quick Guide to Displays for the December Holidays,” which includes guidance on appropriate in-school displays. ADL also has a web-page devoted to teaching about the December holidays. It includes:
- The ADL publication: The December Dilemma: December Holiday Guidelines for Public School
- A recording of the ADL webinar: The December Dilemma: Navigating Religious Holidays in the Public Schools
- The ADL publication: Winter Holidays, December Dilemma or Teaching Opportunity?
You may also want to review the ADL publication Religion in the Public Schools, a comprehensive look at the law of religion in the public schools in an easy to understand and use format. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you or your staff may have about preparing appropriate December holiday curricula. You can reach us at (415) 981- 3500.