News Briefs | FYI
January 10, 2022
Miami-Dade educator Carvalho tapped to lead LAUSD
The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education has tapped Alberto Carvalho to lead the second-largest school district in the nation.
Carvalho previously served as superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth-largest district in the country, since 2008. He was unanimously chosen by the board Dec. 9 and his contract was approved Dec. 14.
During his 13 years as superintendent, M-DCPS has seen sustained growth in student achievement as well as a commitment to equity and historically underserved students. Carvalho garnered local, state, national and international recognition. His honors include Florida’s 2014 Superintendent of the Year, the 2014 National Superintendent of the Year, the 2016 winner of the Harold W. McGraw Prize in Education, the 2018 National Urban Superintendent of the Year, and the 2019 National Association for Bilingual Education Superintendent of the Year Award.
Carvalho has a story not unlike many of the students in LAUSD, according to a district media release. He grew up in poverty in Portugal and was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He emigrated to the U.S. shortly after high school and supported himself through higher learning as a day laborer and busboy. After graduation, he started his career as a science teacher in Miami-Dade County, where he has also served as assistant principal and chief communications officer.
“It has been the privilege of my life to serve as Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools,” said Carvalho. “For the last three decades, I have selflessly dedicated my professional career to the children of Miami’s diverse community, and I am hoping to bring that same passion, compassion and commitment to the students and families in L.A. Unified.”
This school year, Carvalho has faced COVID-19 challenges in Florida, where that state’s Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a ban on masks in schools and threatened to withhold pay for superintendents in districts that required masking. Carvalho has said he was guided by scientific data in requiring students to wear masks at the start of this school year and received threats over the decision.
“If the reward is a threat, I will wear it as a badge of honor,” he told the state board of education in August.
Under his tenure, M-DCPS became one of the nation’s highest-performing urban school systems receiving systemwide accreditation from AdvancEd in 2014. M-DCPS was named as the 2014 College Board Advanced Placement Equity and Excellence District of the Year, as well as the 2012 winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education.
An instructional leader at heart, Carvalho is also the proud founder and principal of the award-winning iPreparatory Academy that has become a model of robust 21st century learning in the age of innovation and technology.
Carvalho has been awarded many honorary degrees including a Doctor of Public Service by Florida International University; Doctor of Humane Letters by both Barry University and Florida Memorial University; and a Doctor of Pedagogy, Honoris Causa from Nova Southeastern University. He has been honored by the President of Portugal with the “Ordem de Mérito Civil,” by Mexico with the “Othli Award” and was awarded the Official Cross of the Orden de Isabel la Catolica (Order of Isabella the Catholic) on behalf of King Felipe VI of Spain on Dec. 13.
LAUSD delays vaccine requirement for students
With some 27,000 students without proof of vaccination, Los Angeles Unified School District has delayed enforcement of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which was set to take effect Jan. 10.
The district reports more than 87 percent of its students ages 12 and older have complied with the vaccine requirement in order to attend in-person classes for the second semester. However, with thousands of students who did not comply facing a transfer to remote learning, the LAUSD Board of Education voted Dec. 14 to hold off on enforcement until fall 2022.
This gives families more time to complete the two-dose regimen and submit their proof of vaccination to the district, which announced the vaccine requirement in September.
Several districts have instituted their own student vaccine mandates ahead of the state’s vaccine mandate. Sacramento Unified School District had a deadline of Nov. 30, with around 75 percent of students failing to provide proof of receiving at least one COVID shot to the district in time, according to published reports.
The state’s student vaccine requirement would go into effect at the start of the next term (Jan. 1 or July 1) once the vaccine receives full Food and Drug Administration approval for all ages in a grade span. Full approval for ages 12 and up corresponds to the 7-12 grade span, and full approval of ages 5-11 corresponds to the K-6 grade span. Currently, COVID vaccines are fully approved for only ages 16 and up. Two CA schools recognized on national level

Two California schools have received recognition as 2021 National Elementary and Secondary Education Act
Distinguished Schools — formerly known as National Title I Distinguished Schools. Hall Middle School in the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District and West Valley High School in the Anderson Union High School District are two of up to 100 schools throughout the country being recognized.
“Congratulations to principals Toni Brown and Joshua Mason, as well as all of the educators, staff, administrators, parents, and students at these schools,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in a news release. “Not only were these two schools already named 2021 California Distinguished Schools, they’re also being recognized for their excellent work closing opportunity gaps among student groups and ensuring academic growth for all students.”
Hall Middle School was selected because it performed exceptionally well in Category 1 of the qualifying categories (exceptional student performance and academic growth for two or more consecutive years), while West Valley High School performed well in Category 2 (closing the achievement gap between student groups for two or more consecutive years).
A project of the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators (formerly the National Title I Association), the National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program publicly recognizes qualifying federally funded schools for the outstanding academic achievements of their students. It highlights schools across the country making significant improvements for their students.
Task force holds first meeting on Black student achievement
Calling out the impacts that systemic and institutional racism have had on Black students, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond formally launched a statewide task force on Improving Black Student Achievement. The task force held its first meeting in November led by Thurmond and several co-chairs named to guide the work of the task force. The task force identified five issue areas which will be the basis for working groups: The school-to-prison pipeline, teacher diversity, academic achievement, mental health and housing insecurity. The task force includes 30 members — including notable leaders from the fields of education, higher education, research, criminal justice reform, and the foundation and nonprofit sectors — as well as the following co-chairs, who bring leadership and expertise in the area of improving Black student achievement:
  • Pedro Noguera, Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education
  • Tyrone Howard, Director, UCLA Center for Transformation of Schools
  • Kelly Lytle Hernandez, Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA
  • Joseph Johnson, Founding Executive Director of the National Center for Urban School Transformation
  • Desiree Carver-Thomas, Researcher and Policy Analyst, LPI
  • L.K. Monroe, Superintendent of Alameda County Schools
  • Shawn Ginwright, Professor and Senior Research Associate for the Cesar Chavez Institute for Public Policy
The task force will meet monthly and form working groups that make recommendations that can be incorporated in the January 2022 legislative cycle. Committee formed to address safe bathrooms for students State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond has formed an ad hoc committee that will be charged with making recommendations to expand the availability of gender neutral bathrooms on California school campuses. Thurmond will form a committee comprised of students, school staff and key partners to brainstorm solutions for ensuring that schools have these facilities. “We have to give our students all the support they need, including access to bathrooms they can use safely,” Superintendent Thurmond said, in a news release. “I have been inspired by the students who have advocated on this issue and want to give students the opportunity to be a part of finding the solutions.” Thurmond first became concerned that some campuses may lack adequate access to gender neutral bathrooms while moderating a panel in October with students for LGBTQ History Month. Many of the students shared they would go the whole day without using a bathroom because they felt unsafe. Thurmond’s concerns intensified in November when a Chino Valley Unified School District school board member introduced a proposal to restrict the bathrooms that transgender students and gender-nonconforming youth could use. Thurmond and the California Department of Education issued a letter informing the district that the proposed measure would violate state law. The proposal was defeated after students spoke out, raising their concerns with the proposed measure. Senator Connie Leyva has been asked by Thurmond to co-chair the ad hoc committee. The State Superintendent’s ad hoc committee will be open to students from across the state, but a special effort will be made to engage students from the Chino Valley Unified School District. Anyone who wishes to join the ad hoc committee can contact
Apply for early education teacher development grants
The California Department of Education announces the release of the Early Education Teacher Development Grant Program. Qualifying LEAs, including charter schools, school districts and county offices of education are encouraged to apply for this funding. The goal of the grant is to increase the number of early educators and to increase specific competencies for CSPP, TK and kindergarten teachers. Find details about the program, eligibility and requirements for submitting a request for application, including submitting a Letter of Intent on the CDC website. Please note that the LOI is required and is due by 5 p.m. Jan. 19, 2022. For any questions regarding the Early Education Teacher Development Grant program, email
Training will cover data-driven decision making
A new training opportunity —“Data-Driven Decision-Making for Educational Leaders”— will be presented at 2 p.m. Jan. 26, 2022. This new, two-hour event is for school and district leaders who are interested in using assessment data from last year’s assessments, given the flexibility LEAs had regarding the administration of local assessments in spring 2021. The training will cover the following topics: Data consistency between LEAs, Requirements for reporting data, and data collection and using data moving forward. More modules for further training on this topic will be offered in 2022–23. To register for the January 26 webinar, visit the Webinar Registration web page,
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