SSDA's Tim Taylor presents gift cards to superinte
During a news conference for CA Kids Fire Relief (see sidebar below), Small School Districts Association Executive Director Tim Taylor presents letters and gift cards from students to Pioneer Union School District Superintendent/Principal Annette Lane, whose school burned down in the Caldor Fire.
Fires engulf school communities
ACSA regions donate more than $71,000 to help affected educators and schools
September 6, 2021
Catastrophic wildfires in Northern California are displacing students and causing school closures right as many districts are starting the school year.
As of press time, the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County has burned more than 200,000 acres, destroying nearly 700 homes and other structures including Walt Tyler Elementary School in the Pioneer Union School District. After flames consumed the school overnight, Principal/Superintendent Annette Lane visited evacuation centers looking for students and families, according to published reports.
The California Office of Emergency Services reported more than 53,000 people were under evacuation orders due to the Caldor Fire on Aug. 31 as it moved northeast toward South Lake Tahoe.
Farther north, the Dixie Fire that began July 14 has burned more than 800,000 acres, destroying the town of Greenville and half of Lassen Volcanic National Park, and becoming California’s second-largest wildfire in history. The fire is 48 percent contained, as of Aug. 31.
In an Aug. 8 Facebook post, Greenville Elementary School and Greenville Junior/Senior High School Principal Jennifer Scheel shared that staff were attempting to contact displaced families via their student information system in order to gather temporary contact information.
“The Greenville Schools’ staff is deeply saddened and heartbroken by the devastating loss in Greenville. Our hearts go out to all of you, especially those that have lost their home. We hope you have found a safe place to be while we all wait to hear more about what our future holds,” Scheel wrote. “In the midst of the devastation, I wanted to share with our families that both Greenville Elementary and Greenville Junior/Senior High School, while damaged, are both still standing. To me, this represents hope and a place we can all return to someday in the future. Greenville Staff looks forward to this day!”
Colfax Elementary School District in Placer County delayed the start of school by one week due to the River Fire. Staff and families lost homes and were unable to access schools due to an evacuation order. Colfax Elementary School served as a Local Assistance Center and the district provided childcare for families impacted by the fire.
“The River Fire has had a significant impact on our families, including our Bulldog staff. Our first priority is support for the community [and] our families in need,” wrote Superintendent/Principal John Baggett in a Facebook post Aug. 7.
Many other districts have been impacted by evacuation orders and poor air quality from smoke as the start of California fire season has coincided with the start of the school year.
ACSA Senior Director of Member Services Margarita Cuizon-Armelino said educators have lost their homes in the fires. As of press time, ACSA is awaiting information from regions about affected ACSA members.
ACSA Regions have responded to the crisis by donating more than $71,000 to fund relief efforts for ACSA members and other educators affected by California wildfires.
“Our crisis support work began officially in 2014-15 in response to the Lake Fire in Region 4 and we have never looked back. At that time, we reached out for individual member donations and were awestruck by the level of generosity,” Cuizon-Armelino said. “Today, we can also say that we are so proud of our ACSA regions’ altruism and the combined funds that they are setting aside to help educators across the state, members or not, who find themselves victims of natural disasters. The additional funding will allow us to take our support beyond ACSA members, but also to students, teachers and classified staff who are impacted.”
ACSA members who are able to provide temporary housing and personal necessity items are also encouraged to join ACSA Crisis Support Network by filling out the form at
CA Kids Fire Relief
Sacramento-area education leaders have created a statewide fire relief effort to provide financial and emotional support to students, families and school communities impacted by wildfires in California. CA Kids Fire Relief is a collaboration between the Small School Districts Association, the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association and the Sacramento County Office of Education. The effort is urging the education community to contribute gift cards for food, clothing, gasoline, as well as credit-card-style gift cards (Visa, Mastercard, AmEx). Online donations are also being accepted via PayPal. (Cash, checks, clothing and household items are not being collected.) Students are also encouraged to make cards and write positive letters of support, which will be hand-delivered to students and schools in the fire regions. Gift cards and letters should be mailed to:
CA Kids Fire Relief Ashley Slovak C/O Sacramento County Office of Education P.O. Box 269003 Sacramento, CA 95826-9003
SCOE will receive the donated gift cards and distribute them to the affected school districts. Districts, in turn, will distribute cards to students and families as soon as possible.
Additional information is available at
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