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VOLUME 74 | ISSUE 3 | JANUARY 2021 Outlook is published bimonthly, September through May, by the San Joaquin County Office of Education Public Information Office.

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION 2922 Transworld Drive, Stockton, CA 95206 (209) 468-4800 | www.sjcoe.org


San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools


Deputy Superintendent of Business Services


Associate Superintendent of Student Programs and Services


Assistant Superintendent of County Operated Schools and Programs


Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services


Assistant Superintendent of Special Education and SELPA

MISSION STATEMENT The San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) is a regional agency that provides educational leadership, resources, and customized services to assist school districts. The SJCOE promotes student achievement and accountability, serves San Joaquin County’s most at-risk students, and strives to create an environment in which every student, regardless of circumstances, has an opportunity for a quality education.


Zachary Johnson and Carly Sexton



Lisa Bryant, Lucy Greaney, and Veronica Tova


Louie Ambriz, Joanne Marie Rocafort, Ernestina Rodriguez, Saul Suazo Portillo, Miguel Vernis, and Shane Williamson


SUBMIT A STORY |sjcoepio@sjcoe.net




Holiday Tradition Building Relationships

NEWS 6 7 8 10 12 13 14 15 16 17

Mindful Collaboration Robots in Your Living Room Passionate About the Planet Reaching New Horizons World Champs, Again First Impressions CSC Goes Virtual Take a Deep Breath Your Teachers CARE Welcome to Campus

FEATURE 18 Gathering Around the Virtual Campfire

IN THE CLASSROOM 20 Universal Design for Learning 101: What is it?



22 23 24


OUTLOOK District Highlights

HOLIDAY tradition

The SJCOE Highlights Student Artwork as Part of Holiday Tradition The holiday card contest has become one of the San Joaquin County Office of Education’s (SJCOE) favorite holiday traditions! Each year, students from selected schools across the county submit their holiday-inspired creations for the opportunity to be featured on the SJCOE’s holiday card that is distributed to over 800 individuals including San Joaquin County principals, district superintendents, government officials, and county superintendents statewide. The firstplace winner’s artwork is featured on the cover of the SJCOE Outlook magazine and on the holiday card wall of fame at the Nelson Administration Center. Additionally, all winners and runners-up are recognized for their talent by the SJCOE cabinet members and are presented with their framed artwork. Congratulations to this year’s winners. First Place: Melissa Garcia, Sierra High School, Grade 11

Second Place: Amelia Tupua, Sierra High School, Grade 12

Runner Up: Aiden Ogas, one.Odyssey, Grade 7

Runner Up: Zoee Pimentel, Collegeville Elementary, Grade 2


Runner Up: Matheo Mendizabal, Bohn Elementary School, Grade 4

OUTLOOK District Highlights

G N I D L I BU lationships Re

Perhaps the best way to understand Sierra High School’s approach to COVID-19 is to go back to the start of the 2019-20 school year -- months before anybody had ever heard of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Before the first day of school, a school-wide training inspired staff to double down on their efforts to connect with students. “It really gave us a lot of ideas about helping kids by helping teachers to build classroom culture and climate,” Principal Steve Clark said. So that was the focus for the first two days of the school year at Sierra High, which is part of the Manteca Unified School District. “The idea was: Let’s take two full days and just get to know the kids and get them to know each other,” he said. “In the long term, looking back, it had a tremendous impact.”

s nnect o C h g Hi 20 Sierra dents in 20 tu with S

safety protocols, the Sierra High team members also gave ample attention to the lessons they learned about building relationships. Orientation still kicked off the school year, though it was a drive-thru event. The Link Crew still helped incoming freshmen make the transition to high school, but they did it virtually. “We’re trying to do a lot of those things that maintain the culture and climate of a campus -- those things that connect kids to school,” Clark said.

“You know what? These kids deserve our best.”

The school’s culture has helped staff keep each other motivated during struggles, too, Clark said. “It’s been tough, but we’ve taken on the challenge and said: ‘You know what? These kids deserve our best.’”

As the school year progressed, the number of -Steve Clark, suspensions and referrals dropped, and attendance rose slightly, he said. When the statewide push to Sierra High School Principal slow the spread of COVID-19 closed the campus in On a recent visit to a calculus March, the importance of building relationships class on campus, a student and connecting to students was even more clear. “So, a lot of noticed the principal had on a jacket and tie and asked him if teachers took those concepts and applied them to distance that meant it was time for Lobo Gold, the school’s honor learning,” he said. roll event. Staff continued to draw on that philosophy in the new school year, which began with distance learning and moved to in-person instruction. While learning new ways to adapt classroom technology and adhering to rigorous

It was, but it would be a virtual ceremony instead of the usual in-person assembly. But it was still a celebration of Sierra High School and its students, and Clark was dressed for the occasion’s importance.

14 School Districts Proudly Serving San Joaquin County Students Banta Elementary · Escalon Unified · Jefferson Elementary · Lammersville Unified · Lincoln Unified Linden Unified · Lodi Unified · Manteca Unified · New Hope Elementary · Ripon Unified New Jerusalem Elementary · Oak View Union Elementary · Stockton Unified · Tracy Unified



MINDFUL COLLABORATION Educators Gather Virtually at SJCOE Meeting of the Minds

At its annual Meeting of the Minds, San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) County Operated Schools and Programs (COSP) brings together educators and administrators from the county’s 14 school districts to share knowledge and learn about educational resources. For its second annual meeting on Nov. 13, Meeting of the Minds went virtual and invited educators to participate in collaborative conversations over Zoom. Meeting of the Minds creates a space for local school districts to collaborate with educational partners, connect with resources, and learn how the SJCOE can support them. “Our goal is to provide an opportunity for all of us to get together and connect, to share what’s new in our programs and to share new efforts, resources, and best practices,” SJCOE Assistant Superintendent of County Operated Schools and Programs Janine Kaeslin said at the start of the meeting. The event navigated topics of child welfare and attendance, new student services, legislation changes, parent and family engagement, and more. Sean Morrill, COSP division director, shared highlights of the one.Program, discussing how COSP is supporting students attending its court, community, and one.Charter schools. Morrill shared that COSP has also expanded their relationship with San Joaquin Delta College to offer students access to dual enrollment. Guest speaker Michael Hulsizer, chief deputy of governmental affairs for Kern County Office of Education, led a presentation on fall legislative updates. Hulsizer is also a consultant with the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA).


Questions and comments were fielded through the chat function of Zoom as well as on a Padlet platform, where participants could communicate about best practices, district/program needs, and celebrations. Attendees also joined breakout rooms to share their insights and experiences from their districts in smaller groups. Some attendees detailed how their districts handled the reopening processes for their school sites and shared success stories of safely bringing students and staff back to school in different ways. It was Teresa Oden’s first Meeting of the Minds. She is the Stockton Unified School District director of admissions and family services. The opportunity to learn new information regarding student support services interested her and encouraged her to log on. Most importantly, she said, collaborating with other districts and SJCOE representatives on the best practices to support students was an opportunity she didn’t want to miss. Members of the SJCOE also joined the Meeting of the Minds, including Hector Calderon, an intervention and prevention specialist. Calderon wanted to learn more about the strategies that other districts have been using to connect and support students successfully. He joined the online event to meet with other partners and network with educators around the county. “COVID has really changed the way we operate in terms of attendance. This meeting gives us an opportunity to compare notes.” The next Meeting of the Minds will take place in April 2021. For more information, contact Sean Morrill at smorrill@sjcoe.net.


ROBOTS IN YOUR LIVING ROOM STEM Programs brings the FabLab to Homes of Students in Migrant Education Programs The San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) FabLab is home to some of the most innovative and exciting technology equipment for students to use. Recently, 20 students in SJCOE Migrant Education programs from Lodi Unified School District had the chance to experience the wonders of the FabLab from their homes at the SJCOE STEAM Camp, a virtual event for students to learn about science, engineering, physics, and math. The camp was virtual this year because of COVID-19. “We are trying to take a portion of the lab and give it to the kids so they can have the lab wherever they are,” SJCOE educational technology and engineering design coordinator Stephen Callahan said. “Since they can’t come to the lab, we are putting the lab in their dining rooms and on their kitchen tables.” Each student was delivered a robot kit they would have to assemble and turn into a prototype of a delivery robot. However, the kits were not complete. They were missing the “claw” the robot would use to grab the goods it would be delivering. Students designed their custom-made claws using computer software, then sent the designs to the FabLab, where they were created using 3D printers. The claws were attached to a robot in the FabLab and taken for a test drive. FabLab staff members guided the students throughout the process online. The kits students received at home to use included micro bits, safety goggles, stickers, and a roadmap for robot designs to give students an interactive hands-on experience outside of the FabLab for the duration of the camp. Live Oak Elementary School sixth-grader Alexis and his fourth-grade brother Mauricio worked together on their delivery robots. After assembling the pieces from their kits into prototypes, the boys put their minds together to ensure the wheels worked right and the robots could balance themselves.

This was Alexis’s third year attending the SJCOE STEAM Camp. “It’s been great every year,” he said. “It’s better than just laying around on my phone.” The camp is a great way for migrant students to learn new concepts through a tactile, visual, and group-learning approach, SJCOE Director of Migrant Education Manuel Nunez said. During the camp, students worked out of their online “sense-making” notebooks in Google Classroom, where they could watch instructional videos and engage with the Migrant Education and FabLab staff members in breakout rooms. In Alexis and Mauricio’s breakout session, FabLab assistant staff member and University of the Pacific computer engineering student Michael Funes-Solis lent the brothers a virtual hand with their robots. Funes-Solis inspired the boys about a future in STEM through sharing stories of his own time studying at Pacific. “I would love to go there,” Alexis said, who could see himself going to Pacific as a student and wanted to learn more about the university. Over the course of the four-day camp, students walked through the engineering design process, drew isometric drawings, coded their own simple programs, wrote algorithms, and more. On the very last day, STEM Programs surprised students and let them keep their robots to continue tinkering, coding, and imagining what they could do in the limitless world of STEAM. “We want to give them that physical aspect even in the virtual space,” Callahan said. “Their house becomes a lab.”


PASSIONATE about the planet Youth for Environmental Literacy Meetings Bring Local High Schoolers Together Virtually

Annika Hauschildt stands up for the planet, and her twin sister, Hannah Hauschildt, is right by her side. Seniors at Tokay High School (Lodi Unified School District), Annika and Hannah serve as president and vice president of Tokay’s Go Green Club. Together, they lead the student body towards greener alternatives through informational meetings and engaging hands-on events. The powerful sister duo preserves the planet at their school by selling reusable water bottles, minimizing single-use plastic waste, conserving water, and planning last spring’s Planting Palooza -- a campus beautification event that would have allowed students to plant native flora around the school if COVID-19 hadn’t brought school campuses to a close. Recently, the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) Enviro Team developed a platform for them to connect with other students and educators who are just as passionate as they are. The Youth for Environmental Literacy (YEL) Network is a high school youth network bringing passionate and creative high school students from across San Joaquin County together to understand local environmental issues better and work together to begin to address these challenges in our communities. Due to the pandemic, students and advisors currently participate over Zoom, where participants meet and brainstorm solutions for positive environmental change in their communities. The SJCOE Enviro Team is comprised of SJCOE representatives from various departments, including Teachers College of San Joaquin (TCSJ), Greater Valley Conservation Corps (GVCC), the IT


Department, Operations, STEM Programs, and others. The collaborative group supports students with identifying environmental issues, conducting research, and finding ways to advocate for positive environmental change at the local, state, and global levels. “We have a civic responsibility to understand local, national, and global environmental issues and engage with existing systems to help move toward a more sustainable future. Youth bring such great energy and leadership to this important work,” Dean Reese, SJCOE STEM Coordinator of Outdoor Education and Environmental Literacy said. YEL also serves as a platform for students to share projects, events, and clubs they participate in at their schools. In meetings, students are encouraged to learn from each other and develop innovative ideas that address environmental literacy. Before joining YEL, Annika and Hannah raised money to bring new water bottle filling stations to their campus. They wanted to demonstrate how many single-use water bottles they have collectively avoided as a school by refilling reusable water bottles. They also hope it will be part of a broader plan to reduce plastic waste at Tokay. At YEL, the girls feel that they can share their plans, successes, and struggles with students and advisors working on similar projects. “I hope they share various projects and activities with us at YEL so we may be able to share them with our school, too,” Annika said. “At YEL, I learned that we are not alone in trying to bring awareness of environmental issues to my community,” Hannah said.

OUTLOOK News Go Green, SJCOE! What does the environment mean to you? The volunteers at the kickoff meeting of the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) Green Engagement Leaders (GEL) answered the question on a virtual Jamboard. The screen filled with colorful sticky notes and images of nature as participants at the virtual meeting shared what the environment meant to them: our natural world, relationships, ecosystems, our connection to the outdoors, our future, our planet, and more. It launched the group toward its goal to help coordinate and implement green solutions at the SJCOE to help preserve the environment. The GEL network was created by the SJCOE Enviro Team, which consists of various SJCOE representatives from Outdoor Education, IT, Operations, and Teachers College of San Joaquin (TCSJ). The Nov. 13 kickoff meeting was held over Zoom to discuss environmental education, literacy, and green initiatives. Led by STEM Programs director Annie Cunial and TCSJ Coordinator of M.Ed. Programs, Research, and Evaluation Katie Burns, the GEL network brings together SJCOE staff interested in strengthening environmental literacy at the SJCOE by brainstorming ideas on how to spearhead positive impacts for the environment and turn these ideas into actions. “Tell it, spell it, yell it, GEL it!” Burns said. “All of you are branches of our Enviro Team. You are GEL.” The SJCOE Enviro Team offers multiple ways to promote environmental literacy and education. Teachers for Environmental Literacy (TEL), Community Partners for Environmental Literacy (CPEL), and Youth for Environmental Literacy (YEL) are all networks at the SJCOE that are dedicated to creating space to promote environmental education in our communities. The group started looking at previous steps the SJCOE has taken toward being a sustainable and green organization, including the recent installation of water filling stations and the construction of solar panels, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. The campuses’ low-water flora limit water waste and electric vehicle charging stations are found in different locations throughout the SJCOE’s Stockton campus. TCSJ’s new home on campus underwent improvements to earn it a “green business” certification, making it the first county office of education building in California to achieve this certification by adopting green building and sustainable business practices. “I’m super interested in watching the SJCOE engage with their employees about being green so we can become leaders for other districts in our county,” said Dean Reese, a coordinator of outdoor education and environmental literacy at the SJCOE and a member of the Enviro Team. “The SJCOE is already doing so many great things in this space. These meetings mean that we are still looking for ways to improve. We need to practice what we preach.”

What is Environmental Literacy?

Environmental literacy is the understanding and motivation to make responsible decisions that impact one’s environmental community and natural systems. It emphasizes the importance of environmental science education in the classroom and beyond. “Learning environmental literacy at YEL gives an outlet to share knowledge and educate others about various environmental topics,” Annika Hauschildt said.

At the SJCOE, the STEM Programs department is working to CPEL it, GEL it, TEL it, and YEL it, with the following networks that promote environmental literacy: •

Community Partnerships for Environmental Literacy (CPEL)

Green Engagement Leaders (GEL)

Teachers for Environmental Literacy (TEL)

Youth for Environmental Literacy (YEL)

If you are interested in learning more about YEL or joining SJCOE’s growing environmental literacy efforts, contact Dean Reese at dreese@sjcoe.net.




San Joaquin County Students First in State to Join High School Apprenticeship Program

San Joaquin County high school students are the first in the state to take part in the new Apprenticeships Reaching Career Horizons (ARCH) program, a first-of-itskind apprenticeship program for high school students in California. In the ARCH program, students can earn college credit while receiving on-the-job training in paid positions as registered apprentices while still attending high school. Previously, only pre-apprenticeship programs have been available to California high school students. The first six students from three schools took part in a virtual signing ceremony with state and local leaders in November to kick off the new program. “Six brave students from San Joaquin County schools have made history by becoming registered apprentices through this new program,” said Pam Knapp,

San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) director of College and Career Readiness. “They are paving the way for other high school students across the state who have a new opportunity to earn while they learn and develop onthe-job skills that will help them embark on well-paid careers.” ARCH was created through a California Apprenticeships Initiative Grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office awarded to the SJCOE. Other state and local partners essential to the ARCH launch included San Joaquin County WorkNet, San Joaquin Delta College, the Division of Apprenticeship Standards, Partnership for Advancing Youth Apprentices (PAYA) with New America, and participating school districts. The first six students came from the SJCOE, Ripon Unified School District,


and Linden Unified School District. The SJCOE and the school districts all agreed to hire on the students in their respective information technology (IT) departments. “It was a natural fit for us. We have strong CTE (career technical education) pathways at Ripon High School, which we are continuing to develop,” said Ziggy Robeson, superintendent of the Ripon Unified School District, which was first to bring in the student apprentices. Robeson said the district’s IT department has been an integral part of the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the student apprentices have been part of that response, whether it is fixing Chromebooks used in distance learning or providing tech support to district users. “They’re already living up to my expectations, and I know they are going to exceed them.”


Beyond learning the technical skills of working in IT, the students are also learning the soft skills that will help them in any career, Robeson said. Currently the ARCH program is available for students pursuing careers in IT, automotive mechanics, home health aides, and logistics technicians. The apprenticeship program may grow to include other occupations, too. “High school students will have access to Delta College curriculum that is directly related to the real-world work experience they will receive as apprentices,” Delta College Superintendent and President Dr. Omid Pourzanjani said. “Upon graduation from high school, each student will be prepared to continue their on-thejob training as an apprentice while completing their remaining instruction.” The ARCH program is open to juniors or seniors ages 16 and older attending participating high schools. Recruited by their CTE teachers or counselors, the high school apprentices will work part time with employers while enrolled in community college courses aligned with the pursued occupation. Participating school districts in San Joaquin County receive grant funding to help offset the costs of coordinating the student apprenticeships in exchange for agreeing to hire student apprentices

within their school district or find private employment for these students. “Registered apprenticeship is the gold standard of work-based training,” said John Dunn, assistant secretary for apprenticeship and worker training at the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. “Apprenticeships offer a path to rewarding careers for a diverse workforce and are an effective way for employers to develop talent. This new program will take us closer to reach the Governor’s goal to develop 500,000 new apprenticeships in the state over the next decade.” The first six ARCH students are: Aaron Drumm and Cristian Soto (Linden Unified School District); Carter Lacey and Luke Ruba (Ripon Unified School District); and Seven Galvez and Teri Wilson (SJCOE). Teri, a senior at the SJCOE’s one.Dream Academy, heard about the program from her teacher, and signed up right away, she said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s life-changing,” she said. Teri doesn’t know exactly what she wants for her career at this point in her life, but she knows the apprenticeship will give her options and job-security. “We never know what the future is going to be. But if I know about computers, I’ll be fine.”

The Apprentices Pictured left to right:

Aaron Drumm Linden Unified School District

Carter Lacey

Ripon Unified School District

Cristian Soto Linden Unified School District

Seven Galvez

San Joaquin County Office of Education

Teri Wilson

San Joaquin County Office of Education

Luke Ruba

Ripon Unified School District



WORLD CHAMPS,again Venture Academy Mock Trial Team Wins Second Year in a Row at Empire New York Mock Trial World Championship

The Venture Academy Family of Schools (VAFS) mock trial team doesn’t just win international mock trial competitions. They return the next year to defend their title successfully.

The win comes just three weeks after their success at the international Empire Chicago Mock Trial Windy City Challenge, where they also took home first-place.

For their second year in a row, the VAFS high school mock trial team took home the first-place title at the virtual international Empire New York Mock Trial World Championship 2020.

“It’s awesome to win two world championships back-to-back,” VAFS mock trial coach Spencer Wright said. “To win three international competitions within one year is the cherry on top.”

Thirty-six teams from around the world participated in the online competition, including Canada and China. A team of 26 jurors used electronic ballots to decide the verdict, with the winner declared by merely three votes.

After winning their second international title at the at-home Empire Chicago championship, the team knew that all eyes would be on them. In the 18 days between the two Empire competitions, the VAFS mock trial team of nine skillfully rewrote their case to change their theme, set new traps, and enter the virtual courtroom with an even stronger argument.

The championship event, historically taking place at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, occurred virtually this year, with attendees logging on from their respective homes and school sites. Facing off against Nashville’s Montgomery Bell Academy in the final round, the VAFS team logged off on Nov. 16 with yet another victorious notch on their belt. The team successfully argued a fictional case involving an attempted burglary and conviction by representing members of the defense team and witnesses in the case. Venture seniors Isabelle Piscoso and Jacob Morgali received recognition as two of the top 10 witnesses at the overall Empire competition.

Venture senior Hope Austin, playing the role of the attorney, says that mock trial has not only taught her self-advocacy and legal skills but has also helped her build the best relationships with her teammates. “Mock trial teaches you the law, but it also teaches you how to lose and win with grace,” Austin said. In her future, Austin plans to pursue sociology or linguistics in college and attend law school. Securing the win could not have been possible, mock trial coach Spencer Wright says, without the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) IT


department and VAFS Foundations high school academy, who helped to recreate the courtroom through technology help, lighting, and backdrop setup. “The proof is in the pudding. What I saw today leads me to be optimistic about the future and very proud of what our educators in schools are doing,” said Richard J. Sullivan, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit who presided over the championship competition. The Venture high school mock trial team dedicated its win to the late Noah DeVico, a mock trial competitor from Trinity Pacific Christian School who had recently passed away.


Hunter Wright Connor Wright (Overall Top Attorney Award) Ethan Wright Hope Austin


Jacob Morgali (Best Witness Award) Isabelle Piscoso (Best Witness Award) Gabriel Blum Priscilla Alcarez

COURT CLERK Morgan Alloway


FIRST IMPRESSIONS Free Civics Education Program Brings the Courtroom to Fifth-Grade Classrooms Virtually

The First Impressions Civics Education Program introduces San Joaquin County fifth-graders to the legal profession while teaching them about the three branches of government, the importance of the separation of powers, important Constitutional rights, and the role of judicial independence to fair and impartial courts. The program, which has been offered to students since 2000 through the Superior Court of California, County of San Joaquin’s Judge Barbara Kronlund and team, and the San Joaquin County Bar Association, culminates with a mock trial where students roleplay the judge, attorneys, witnesses, jury, court clerk, and bailiff.

Due to the pandemic, rules for courthouse and classroom visitors have changed, which prohibits this beneficial program from being offered in-person. That doesn’t mean that court is adjourned, however, because the San Joaquin County Office of Education and the Superior Court of San Joaquin County have collaborated to bring the First Impressions program to classrooms for free -virtually. This means that teachers can administer the First Impressions Civics Education Program in their classrooms.

“It has been a tremendous opportunity to Judge Barbara Kronlund participate in the First Impressions program “Students get to learn how to think over the years,” said Earl Roider, a retired critically, how to respectfully engage in fifth-grade teacher from Stockton deliberations with others to convey their Unified School District’s San Joaquin opinions, practice reading, and engage Elementary School. in a variety of exercises to demonstrate what they’ve learned in the program,” “This engaging program has allowed said Judge Barbara Kronlund. students, of all abilities, to become more critical thinkers. It has warmed my “We’ve woven a career day into the heart to see student’s participation result remote program as well,” Kronlund said. in great excitement and personal pride,” “This gives students a look at possible Roider said. “The value of this program careers within the justice system, which can be best displayed by the students might interest them.” who have expressed an interest in a law career.”


The Tired King Three Little Pigs Reading Who’s Who in the Courtroom The 5th and 6th Amendments Criminal vs. Civil Cases Review of Who’s Who in the Courtroom 7. Objections and Rulings 8. The Three Little Pigs Mock Trial 9. Your Mock Trial 10. Witnesses 11. Court Clerk Duties 12. Prosecution and Defense Scripts and Offering Exhibits into Evidence 13. Notes About Scripts 14. Courthouse Tour 15. Concluding Statement


Download the module worksheets and learn more about the program at http://bit.ly/CivicsEdSJC.


Watch the video modules on the San Joaquin County Office of Education YouTube page.



CSC GOES VIRTUAL Virtual Conference Draws Thousands of Educators Using Software Developed by CodeStack

Instead of taking the stage in front of hundreds of people packed in a convention center, the opening speakers at CSC2020 took turns getting in front of a camera in an office to kick off the annual CodeStack event, which broadcast out through Zoom to approximately 3,000 attendees. The 12th-annual conference put on by CodeStack, a software engineering department at the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE), went virtual in 2020 because of COVID-19 safety precautions. Attendees had the opportunity to visit 36 different sessions, led by highlyqualified speakers and presenters passionate about promoting the use of top-tier technology in the field of education. They included a wide range of topics focused on sharing tools, services, and products available to educational professionals. One session was Storytelling with Code, led by CodeStack STEAM coordinator and instructor Jeremy Love. Another session was a highlight of new Special Education Information System (SEIS) features with SEIS program manager Cristy Swenson. The event opened with some words from CodeStack Division Director Johnny Arguelles, California Department of Education Special Education Director Heather Calomese,

and SJCOE Associate Superintendent of Student Programs and Services Troy Brown. “As a county office of education, under the leadership of James Mousalimas, we have really taken on the challenge of educating, innovating, and inspiring folks,” Brown said. “It’s not just for students and their families, but it’s for our whole community.” CSC2020’s keynote presenter, Tim Clue, is a motivational speaker and advocate for educators around the nation. He is an award-winning educator and has performed stand-up comedy for over 20 years. Clue’s message, titled Recharge and Repair, incorporated engaging polls and humor to encourage educators to remain hopeful about the important work they are doing. “What’s most important is that you understand that even with uncertainty and great change, there is always the potential for great growth. And I believe that it has occurred among everyone here today,” Clue said. CodeStack provides software and services to the California Department of Health Services, California Community College Chancellor’s Office, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, WestEd, the Governor’s Office, the California Board of Education, and more.


CodeStack Stats Stack High The SJCOE CodeStack department is a software engineering and media department focused on web, mobile, and software application development; graphic and multimedia design; and video production. Working with public agencies around the nation, CodeStack has developed software-as-a-service applications to over 5,000 school districts. •

Over 100 Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPA) are at 950 California school districts, totaling over 850,000 student records

Over 200 California school districts use Beyond SST services

All 58 California offices of education utilize CodeStack software engineering services

977 school districts in California use The School’s Dashboard, developed by CodeStack for the California Department of Education

2.5 million users apply for careers in education through EDJOIN, CodeStack’s education job opportunities information network, with 10 million EDJOIN hits per week nationwide

To learn more about CodeStack, visit www.codestack.org.


TAKE A DEEP BREATH The SJCOE Improves Ventilation Systems to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 and Improve Air Quality

The San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) has spent $300,000 to bring over 300 Global Plasma Solutions (GPS) devices to SJCOE buildings, in efforts to maintain clean and safe indoor air quality, prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and better filter smoke-filled air during fire season. The new GPS units work with the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in the buildings to improve the indoor air quality and increase fresh air intake. The devices’ technology has a 99.4% kill rate of the COVID-19 virus, and works to kill other viruses and bacteria, including the flu virus, according to the manufacturer.


Where Have the Air-Filtrations Systems Been Installed? •

Gaylord A. Nelson Administration Center

Teachers College of San Joaquin

1. Attacks and Kills Viruses, Mold, Spores, and Bacteria

Wentworth Education Center

Career Technical Education Center

2. Minimizes Odors

Venture Academy Family of Schools

3. Prevents Smoke from Entering Indoor Spaces

Discovery ChalleNGe Academy

Greater Valley Conservation Corps

4. Reduces Airborne Particles from Circulating

Head Start San Joaquin

Durham Ferry School of Agriculture and Outdoor Education Center

County Operated Schools and Programs Owned School Sites

Special Education Owned School Sites

The Global Plasma Solutions (GPS) units improve indoor air quality through multiple methods of air filtration:

5. Breaks Down Smoke Caused by Wildfires





SJCOE and Manteca Unified Partnership Allows Students to Receive Support They Need in CARE Program

Nashekah Kimbro spends 75% of the school day with the same freshman students, and she loves the community they build together in her classroom at Lathrop High School (Manteca Unified School District). She teaches them Algebra A and B, English 1, Earth Science, Health/Success 101 and a Freshman Orientation class. Kimbro’s students receive all of their core instruction from her. As a result, they build a bond with their teacher that lasts their whole high school career. It’s a unique approach to teaching ninth-graders, who can sometimes struggle making the transition to high school.

Kimbro, who has taught in the program for the past three years.

CARE program gives you the chance to improve on your work and yourself.”

“A lot of it comes from building confidence and making sure that they know they are in a safe environment where they feel welcomed and supported, not just by me but by each other,” she said. “It gives them that boost to achieve.”

The program is designed for students’ first year of high school, but a transition plan is developed to assist the students throughout all four years.

Five CARE community classrooms on five high school campuses in Manteca Unified ease the transition between junior high and high school for students in the program by offering “CARE made it easier to make new academic, friends because you are with the same emotional, and Kimbro’s class students throughout the entire day, so is part of the social support. Community Students are you can bond with them.” Active Response concurrently -Sean, Junior, Lathrop High School to Education enrolled in (CARE) program, the traditional an educational partnership between Manteca Unified high schools so they the San Joaquin County Office of can participate in athletic activities, Education (SJCOE) and Manteca Unified extra-curricular clubs, and be with their that provides freshman students with friends before school, during brunch and additional academic support. Students lunch, and after school. in the program experience smaller class sizes, study organizational skills, explore Kierah, a freshman student at Lathrop career plans, and work closely with High School, remembers feeling like CARE staff to access all they need to be she was “falling off” in her classes. After successful in school. joining the CARE program, she now has the connections and tools she needs to “This program is about meeting the succeed in school. “It’s easier for me to students where they are and giving them get help with what I need, and that helps the tools they need to be successful,” said me keep my grades up,” Kierah said. “The


“The CARE program is all about supporting the students with anything they need,” said Lonnie Cox, SJCOE alternative education director and the administrator of the program. “It provides hope for students and allows them to gain confidence in their academic abilities.”

By the Numbers: •

5 CARE classrooms at Manteca High School, East Union High School, Sierra High School, Lathrop High School, and Weston Ranch High School

22 students maximum per classroom

2.50 average Grade Point Average (GPA)

95% average attendance

311 total students since program started in 2015

50 students currently enrolled


Welcome to Campus

Venture Academy BrainworX Ninth-Graders Attend Freshman Orientation Laughter bounced off of the walls of BrainworX Academy as Liam rounded the corner of the hallway and entered his school for the first time as a ninth-grade student. After verifying his completion of a self-screening check-in form, he came masked-faceto-masked-face for the first time with the classmates he had been learning virtually with every day since August. Immediately, the room welcomed him, and math teacher Molly Johnson invited him to take a seat. Six feet away were his friends Brooke and Emmy, two fellow freshmen he only knew through the computer screen. Finally, Liam was back in the classroom, and it was starting to feel normal again. The Venture Academy Family of Schools BrainworX Academy welcomed 11 of its 27 freshmen to campus for the first time for freshman orientation this November. Though the orientation traditionally would include all BrainworX students

occurring over several days, the two-hour orientation specifically invited this small group of freshman students to give them the opportunity to learn the BrainworX culture, meet their teachers in-person, and build community with the other members of their freshman class. “Our goal is for them to finally meet each other and to meet us, in person,” Johnson said. “We really just want today to be fun for them.” The afternoon opened with introductions, where the students created name tag tents out of paper that included their favorite movies, candies, songs, and a language they would like to know how to speak. To create a comfortable space, the educators went first. English teacher Jesse Jimenez shared that he always wanted to learn how to speak Latin, and counselor Jose Juache told students that he really enjoys listening to music by Sam Smith. Students followed by introducing themselves to

each other with confidence and humor, like Alex, who wants to learn how to speak Spanish fluently, but claims he already knows how to speak “sarcasm” really well. Next was peanut butter and jelly sandwich time. Split up into three teams, the students were told to create a list of instructions to help their teachers make the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It didn’t take much time for the teachers to take the directions and interpret them quite literally, ripping open loaves of bread, messily scooping peanut butter and jelly with their fingers, and smashing slices together. The students’ giggles filled the room as they watched science teacher Tim Welsh attempt to eat the ridiculously assembled sandwiches. “At Venture, we work hard and play hard,” history teacher Alex McCarthy said. “We want the students to get an idea of who we are as a teaching team-- the silly and quirky and fun teachers who

have been on the other side of their computer screens this whole time.” Welsh then guided the students on a tour of the Venture Academy Family of Schools campus. For students like Liam, seeing the campus was something he had been really excited about. Though Liam has an older sister who attended Venture, he was happy to experience it as a student himself. “It feels really good to see the friends I’ve made online and to finally be on campus,” he said. The orientation closed with the opportunity for students to start their four-year action plans with their postgraduation goals in mind. “This orientation brings in that emotional connection component that is hard to create in the online classroom,” Jimenez said. “It adds an extra dimension to learning. And it is so exciting to finally see their faces. Everything is finally starting to click in place.”




virtual campfire

SJCOE Outdoor Education Brings Campfires, Songs, and More to Fifth- and Sixth-Graders through Virtual Science Camp Memories are made around the campfire at Science Camp. Fifth- and sixth-grade students attending the week-long outdoor education program gather, sing, act silly, listen to stories, and share their evenings around the glow of a roaring fire. The Outdoor Education team at the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) knows how to plan a successful campfire, and they have the skills as educators to make it work virtually. Under normal circumstances, students would be lodging in the coastal Santa Cruz mountains at Camp Jones Gulch, where they learn about science, community building, and outdoor fun through unique, hands-on experiences. Though the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily closed the site, SJCOE coordinators have brought a virtual experience for students to attend live lessons taught by outdoor education staff, engage in virtual outdoor education activities, and gather around


the monthly live campfire to sing songs about nature and connect as a group. “Our goal is to provide an opportunity to see parts of Jones Gulch and to bring science education to students through the lens of outdoor education,” said Lissa Gilmore, Outdoor Education coordinator. “We want to reach out to our community and provide students a break from some of what is happening in the world so they can still feel a connection to the outdoors.” The online outdoor education camp occurs over Zoom, where students, teachers, and staff log on from home. Students partake in all of the camp’s fun traditions from their houses: picking a nature name, seeing parts of the camp, and singing songs. Teachers whose students attend the camp are given a weekly plan to incorporate videos and activities into their class time. This includes outdoor school journals

To make the experience even more immersive, one class had everyone make tie-dyed shirts to wear on the last day of the week. Some students also Zoomed in throughout the week from forts they made at home to echo the spirit of “camping.”


for students, the same journals they would use if they attended the camp in person. Students are encouraged to step right outside their houses and journal from their backyards with these nature journals.

Al o n g g in

At the Oct. 29 campfire, the SJCOE Outdoor Education team sat ready in their homes as students began logging onto Zoom, one by one. Some students and their families were positioned next to backyard fire pits. Others created the campfire experience with a flashlight in a darkened room. Others sat at desks or on sofas, illuminated by the glow of their computer screens. Allison Collins, a coordinator for SJCOE STEM Programs, greeted the 150 students and families gathered around the virtual campfire. To the campers, Collins is known by her nature name: Sorrel. Sorrel explained that the campfire was another cherished tradition for generations of campers and started with The Banana Slug song, a camp favorite. Like all campfire songs, this was a singalong. Sorrel led the campers through hand gestures to participate, encouraging them to tap their chests, shoulders, and heads at certain words’ syllables. Finishing up, the students held up one hand and extended two fingers as antennae in the traditional banana slug figure, with participants chanting, “Slug! Slug! Slug!” Throughout the night, students were invited to wave their hands, use the chat feature, and even roast marshmallows to create a shared, online experience for everyone. During an interactive campfire story, SJCOE Outdoor Education and Environmental Literacy Coordinator Dean Reese asked students to volunteer to help him read Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax.” Volunteers unmuted themselves and called out fun catchphrases whenever certain characters were mentioned. Whenever Reese said, “grickle grass,” a student would unmute and say, “grickle, grickle, grickle.” Whenever he said “Lorax,” another student would say, “I speak for the trees.”

Join the SJCOE’s Outdoor Education team to singalong to some campfire favorites on the SJCOE YouTube page! Outdoor School Song


FBI Sing-Along


The Banana Slug Song


Dirt Made My Lunch


With a few more songs and a poem read by Gilmore, or Turtle as she is known at camp, the fires’ embers wound down, and soon, everyone logged off for the night.

Outdoor education opens students’ eyes to the wonders of the world around them.

“Doing these activities virtually, where the students have time to be kids and have fun and see their classmates in a different light, it really is so magical,” said Collins. “It’s not the same, but it is unique and so special.”

For questions about SJCOE Outdoor Education, contact Lissa Gilmore at lgilmore@sjcoe.net. SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY OFFICE OF EDUCATION | 19

OUTLOOK In the Classroom

UDL 101: What is it? Every student has different strengths and weaknesses. Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, values each one. An educational framework that addresses students and their individual approaches to learning in the classroom, UDL acknowledges that everyone has a unique way of thinking. Through a series of guidelines and pedagogical strategies, the UDL framework encourages educators to consider the many variables that shape student learning and capitalize on the many learning possibilities they bring to the classroom. “There are flexible means of reaching learning goals,” said Fred Cochran, a coordinator for the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) Continuous Improvement and Support department. “UDL requires teachers to think differently about how students demonstrate their understanding of learning objectives and the multiple ways of expressing that knowledge.” UDL also prompts educators to take into account socio-emotional learning, trauma-informed care, engagement and interaction, and more when evaluating student progress. By embracing learner variability, UDL creates a classroom environment of “expert learners” who are

motivated, resourceful, and strategic in accomplishing their educational goals. Ripon Unified School District considers UDL one of the pillars of the district’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). District officials say UDL gives students “voice and choice,” in their education. To prepare teachers to bring UDL, the district has offered training and invited experts in the field to meet with staff, lead virtual sessions, or host small-group studies to dig deep into best practices of UDL. When COVID-19 pushed learning from the classroom to distance learning, Ripon Unified brought the UDL framework into the virtual space. With help from grassroots organizations over the summer, the district created a Continuous Learning Task Force that organized Zoom sessions that reviewed technologies for teachers to use online and in the classroom, such as SeeSaw, Google Suite, and Clever. With a stronger grasp on these new virtual platforms, the educators could better connect with their students and start the school year with the right UDL tools. “Especially during the time of distance learning, we are talking more about equity and access in education,” said Lisa Bowman, an SJCOE Continuous Improvement and Support coordinator.


“It is so important to engage them and give them agency and a voice to teach themselves and to direct their own learning. It’s very powerful.” With its focus on creating classrooms that foster participation and interaction, a UDL framework using online resources can build a supportive virtual community and create a more equitable classroom that considers all students’ abilities. The UDL framework works to reduce barriers to learning so all students have a way to access learning and contribute to the classroom environment while using their passions and interests, said Kathy Coleman, Ripon Unified’s director of curriculum and instruction. “The greatest teachers have students find their strengths and build upon them,” she said. “The UDL mindset helps teachers to help students develop where they want to go, with the guidance of the educator and state standards.” Coleman describes an elementary school classroom, where students list a variety of projects from which they can choose to demonstrate their learning. It could be comparing and contrasting themselves to a character in a book or writing a poem from the perspective of a character they’ve come across. Through

OUTLOOK In the Classroom the process, the students understand that their opinion and engagement matters in their classroom. The students learn to take “visual notes,” which combines pictures and text and allows students to use their creative side when learning new material. UDL fits any subject matter being taught, said the SJCOE’s Cochran. “If a teacher can grasp learner variability, then that’s the first step,” he said.

TEACHING UDL TO EDUCATORS The UDL Series, organized by SJCOE Continuous Improvement and Support, is a series of free professional learning opportunities for teachers and administrators who are interested in bringing UDL to their school sites. The series includes a wide variety of events that educators can attend. This year, the events have been hosted virtually over Zoom and contain an emphasis on UDL and effective distance learning. Covering UDL basics to lesson planning and more, the meetings bring educators together to design the most engaging learning environment. Internationally renowned education consultant, Katie Novak visited one of the UDL Series events in October, sharing tips on how to best facilitate inclusive distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators have the opportunity to earn one unit of professional growth from the Teachers College of San Joaquin (TCSJ) for an additional price for attending workshops in the UDL Series. The series continues, with Zoom sessions on Jan. 28, Feb. 25, March 25, April 25, and May 20. All webinars are from 3-5 p.m. Register at www.bit.ly/UDL2021. To learn more about the UDL Series of webinars and other training, networking, and coaching opportunities for educators, go to www.sjcoe.org/CIS.

HOW TO CREATE AN ENGAGING and INCLUSIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT The UDL Toolkit was created in 2017 by Fred Cochran, a coordinator for Continuous Improvement and Support at SJCOE. It serves as an online collection of resources and tools for educators to use when implementing UDL in their classrooms nationwide. Offering a repository of reference guides, lesson plan templates, and educational documents, Cochran’s toolkit helps educators and leaders bring UDL to learning spaces and workspaces around the nation. The UDL framework works to create inclusive spaces that prioritize access and equality in all areas. Educators can bring UDL into their classrooms by following these ten UDL tips for designing an engaging learning environment, straight from the UDL Toolkit. 1. Create clear, specific goals 2. Minimize distractions 3. Present flexible assessment options 4. Provide frequent, formative feedback 5. Incorporate authentic and relevant examples 6. Ensure resources meet the demands of a task 7. Increase opportunities for collaboration 8. Share examples and non-examples 9. Offer time for active reflection on learning and engagement 10. Support risk-taking To learn more, find the UDL Toolkit at www.livebinders. com/b/2372242 or listen to the LiveBinders Organize Success podcast featuring Cochran at www.livebinders.com/ welcome/blog?showsubtab=blog.

READY TO IMPLEMENT UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING AT YOUR SCHOOL? Want to learn the basics of Universal Design for Learning (UDL)? Or are you ready to start implementing UDL at your school? SJCOE Continuous Improvement and Support will offer monthly UDL webinars through the remainder of the academic year, on Jan. 28, Feb. 25, Mar. 25, Apr. 25, and May 20. All webinars are from 3-5 p.m. To learn more about the UDL series of webinars and other training, networking, and coaching opportunities for educators, go to www.sjcoe.org/CIS. For questions about the UDL webinars, contact Fred Cochran at jacochran@sjcoe.net.


OUTLOOK In the News

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT CODESTACK ACADEMY NOW OFFERS NIGHT PROGRAM CodeStack, a software engineering department of the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE), recently announced the expansion of its CodeStack Academy software engineering certification program. Starting Dec. 11, CodeStack began accepting applications at www.CodeStackAcademy.org for the new 18-month remote CodeStack Night Academy program. The new CodeStack Night Academy will cover the same curriculum as the existing 9-month day program but will expand to shorter classes over an 18-month path to certification. Individuals who are interested in applying for CodeStack Night Academy, please fill out an application online at www.CodeStackAcademy.org.

NEW HIGH SCHOOL APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM MAKES A SPLASH The new Apprenticeships Reaching Career Horizons (ARCH) program welcomed the first six students to take part in this first-of-its-kind high school apprenticeship program. All six students came from San Joaquin County schools. Before this, high school students could only take part in pre-apprenticeship programs. Coverage of this statewide news that centered on the county appeared in the Escalon Times, Linden Herald, Lodi-News Sentinel, and The Record. Learn more about the program in this issue of the SJCOE Outlook on page 10.

THE PATH TO LEADERSHIP AND INTEGRITY The celebration of educational leaders in our past sets the stage for what we value in our future. In November, educational leaders honored Jim Thomas Sr., a former teacher and principal who became the superintendent of Manteca Unified School District. The celebration was held outside of Sierra High School in Manteca, along the street renamed Jim Thomas Street. Representatives from Thomas’ family and the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) joined in the celebration. The former district superintendent’s son, also named Jim Thomas, is a retired SJCOE deputy superintendent of business services. Read about Jim Thomas Sr. in the Manteca Bulletin article: “Street of Leadership and Integrity.”

Great job, California! According to the California Census, California’s 2020 Census efforts were historic, with over 10.5 million households selfresponding! Plus, 2.5 million of those households were in the hardest-to-count communities. The San Joaquin County Office of Education would like to thank our educational partners for their efforts in spreading the word about the importance of the Census here in San Joaquin County and would like to thank the community for taking action by responding.



OUTLOOK A Look Ahead

Here’s to a new year ahead filled with endless opportunities! What are your goals for 2021? We sure hope they include learning something new with us or volunteering at a county-wide student event! Learn more about upcoming events, meetings, trainings, and workshops for educators, like the Serving Dually Identified English Learners virtual meeting on January 26 to activities and events for San Joaquin County students like the virtual Academic Decathlon on February 6 at www.sjcoe.org/calendar.aspx.

JOIN US FOR A FREE VIRTUAL EVENT THIS FEBRUARY! Women Together: Today and Tomorrow is more than a free, one-day virtual conference; it’s an opportunity to be a part of a growing community with a shared belief that when women are empowered in the workplace, our organizations can be led to new heights! The San Joaquin County Office of Education, Lodi Unified School District, and our partner Old Sow Coaching and Consulting invite women and men across all industries, future leaders, and those who advocate for women in leadership to join us, starting with the Women Together conference on Feb. 3 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Together, we can build an inclusive and innovative network that ignites change, values mentorship, and offers opportunities for personal and professional growth and development.

Please find more information and register at










Ventureland Academy kindergarten teacher Janette Villa moved into her new classroom.


Foster Youth and Homeless Services Director Mark Yost and Program Manager Joanna Saldana kicked-off the department’s holiday coat drive.


Stephen Raymond -- APEX Academy teacher and U.S. Navy veteran -- took part in a video prepared by the United Veterans Council to honor those who served on Veterans Day.


Arveen Birdi got a bike for winning the SJCOE Census Chalkathon art contest. She received the bike in a surprise delivery from SJCOE Cabinet members and Sierra High Principal Steve Clark.


The Greater Valley Conservation Corps collected mattresses, tires, and e-waste in Amador County on America Recycles Day.


County Operated Schools and Programs Coordinators Joe Smylie and Jacob Boyd set out with the A-Squad on a truancy sweep in neighborhoods across San Joaquin County to make connections with students.


STEM Programs Coordinator Stephen Callahan went live at the CSC2020 conference.


Profile for WeAreSJCOE

OUTLOOK 74.3 | JANUARY 2021  

The San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) Outlook celebrates education across San Joaquin County! The Outlook is published bimonthl...

OUTLOOK 74.3 | JANUARY 2021  

The San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) Outlook celebrates education across San Joaquin County! The Outlook is published bimonthl...