News Briefs | FYI
February 21, 2022
Football players from School for the Deaf appear at Super Bowl
Student-athletes from California School for the Deaf, Riverside, performed the coin toss before Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13 in recognition of their historic achievement.
The NFL invited four captains from the school’s varsity football team — Enos Zornoza, Christian Jimenez, Jory Valencia and Trevin Adams — to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood to represent their team and its record-breaking season. The Cubs were undefeated heading into their division championship game in November against Canoga Park Faith Baptist, which they lost 74-22. This season was the first winning record in a decade for CDSR’s football program, which has never won a championship or gone past the second round of the section playoffs.
Their season captured headlines across the country, including a story in The New York Times, and defied preconceptions of what deaf athletes can do.
The 400 students at CDSR come from 11 Southern California counties. Students at California Schools for the Deaf are engaged in a positive environment where American Sign Language and English are valued, cultures are embraced, learning is relevant and self-worth is uplifted. In collaboration with families and school communities, students prepare for 21st century colleges and careers through academic rigor, innovative technology and extracurricular opportunities. CDSR was founded in 1953. Its sister campus, the California School for the Deaf, Fremont, has 415 students and was founded in 1860, the first special education program established in California.

SB 830 would change state’s education funding system
A new bill that would change how school funding is determined in California has been introduced in the state Senate.
Senate Bill 830, authored by Sen. Anthony Portantino and co-sponsored by state Superintendent Tony Thurmond, would augment California’s education funding system, which is now based on average attendance with additional funding based on average enrollment.
Thurmond and Portantino joined state school leaders and partners for a news conference Feb. 10 to urge support of a bill they say would inject new funding into schools using a more equitable funding calculation and finance efforts to address chronic absenteeism and truancy.
“With the pandemic already causing so many difficulties across schools and in people’s lives, the last thing that should happen is for schools to face additional economic uncertainty,” said state Superintendent Thurmond, in a news release. “SB 830 gives districts predictability on how they receive funding and gives them important resources to address what has been one of our most perplexing challenges: dealing with chronic absenteeism in ways we have not yet seen before.”
California is one of six states that does not consider enrollment figures for determining state aid to school districts, according to a news release from the CDE. Districts currently plan their budgets and expend funds based on enrollment but receive funds based on attendance. For example, if a school district enrolls 100 students but their attendance rate is 95 percent, the school district must still prepare as if 100 students will attend class every day. As such, school districts do not receive funding if a student does not attend school on any given day despite having fixed operational costs.
“The state is looking at a historic surplus, and this change would inject $3 billion into public education,” said Portantino, in a release. “This is a modest change given the dollar amounts we’re looking at in this budget, but it’s a historic change. We have traditionally funded education based on attendance, and that has been historically unfair to districts. I look at this bill and this proposal as something that deals with the present situation as well as five years from now and 10 years from now. It creates that stability in the present and for the future.”
Kelly Gonez, president of LAUSD’s Board of Education, said districts like hers would no longer receive less funding to help students who need it the most.
“We know that attendance in school is critical because a student has to be in class to learn, but when students are facing trauma, economic uncertainly, or dangerous routes to school, the simple act of showing up to class isn’t so simple,” she said. “School districts like L.A. Unified, with large numbers of students in historically underserved communities, face high levels of chronic absenteeism, and that absenteeism means that our schools receive less funding just when our students need more resources and supports to address these root cause issues.”

Two-thirds of CA districts see increase in staff vacancies
Two-thirds of California school districts surveyed in fall 2021 are facing an increase in vacancies compared to pre-COVID-19 years, according to a recent blog post from the Learning Policy Institute.
Author Desiree Carver-Thomas, a research and policy analyst with LPI, writes in the Feb. 9 blog post that the pandemic has exacerbated a decline in teachers that has been occurring for years.
“Because of these long-standing conditions, even small changes in teacher supply and demand during the pandemic have resulted in serious disruption for schools that had already been struggling to fill teacher vacancies,” she writes, noting that some California districts were forced to shut down for in-person learning during the Omicron surge in January.
Lower enrollment in teacher preparation programs, retirements, teacher turnover, hard-to-staff subjects and the need to hire more staff to support students during the pandemic have all contributed to the staff shortage. Teacher retirements in California went up 26 percent in the last half of 2020, compared with the same period the previous year, according to the blog.
The shortage has driven many current and retired administrators to re-enter the classroom. Carver-Thomas references a September 2021 Tweet from San Lorenzo USD Superintendent Daryl Camp, who posted a picture of himself in front of a classroom of students to convey that many administrators in his district are in classrooms due to the substitute shortage.
The blog post mentions bright spots in California’s response to the teacher shortage, including investments from the state Legislature through the Classified School Employee Program as well as the Teacher Residency Grant Program.
“These record-setting investments will help the state continue to grow its teacher workforce through recruiting, preparing and retaining well-prepared teachers,” Carver-Thomas writes.
Read more about this topic in LPI’s Solving Teacher Shortages blog series.
Be part of ACSA’s inaugural Lead With Pride Summit
ACSA is welcoming proposals from prospective presenters for the first ever Lead With Pride Summit, which will be May 4-6 in Oceanside. Lead With Pride will empower California school administrators and educators with the tools to create safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQIA+ students and staff. Proposed presentations will be evaluated on how relevant and practical the presentation will be to attendees. In addition, presentations will be evaluated on description of clear, measurable learning outcomes. Workshop learning activities should provide opportunities for participants to practice skills identified in the learning outcomes. Proposals should provide evidence to support that the workshop is relevant, timely and likely to contribute to professional development of attendees. Find information on strands and the submission form at Proposals are due at 5 p.m. Friday, March 18. Should you have questions, reach out to Elaine Cervantez at or by phone or text at (916) 329-3824.
Mind Out Loud mental health event is March 12
The CDE is partnering with Wellness Together School Mental Health and the San Diego County Office of Education to co-sponsor the second annual Mind Out Loud Virtual Student Mental Health Event on March 12. This event will encourage middle and high school students to hear from each other about mental health and wellness and gain practical tools and resources to advocate for their peers on campus. For more information on involving your middle and high school students in this event and the ongoing MOL Student Rep Program, visit
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