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December 18, 2020 Friday Letter Volume 2, No. 28
Posted 12/18/20


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MDUSD's Friday Letter—updates and stories prepared weekly for the school district community.

Winter Recess Arrives - Happy Holidays from MDUSD!

Because today is the last day of school before our two week winter recess, things have been extra festive this week...Happy Holidays MDUSD

From toy drives and ugly sweater contests to our golden ticket bicycle giveaway,
From festive classroom activities to tender-hearted thank you's,
From card-writing and gift-giving to drive-through celebrations,
From generous community donations to creative holiday decorations,
When the warm lights and rich colors seem to match our resilient spirits and shared kindness, 
One thing is clear— hard times won't stop our strong sense of community;
In traditional ways and in many new ways, we're still enjoying some good old-fashioned holiday cheer.
     Happy Holidays from MDUSD!

New MDUSD Board of Education Assembles,
Urges Small Group Student Supports and Enrichment

     As seats changed and new faces rose to the virtual dais at the December 14 Board Meeting, a newly developed picture of our 2021 Board of Education came into focus. Incumbent Linda Mayo continues in her honorable public service for a twenty-fourth year as an MDUSD Trustee. Continuing in the role of Vice President, with congratulations, is Trustee Debra Mason, entering her seventh year of dedicated service on the MDUSD Board. Trustee Cherise Khaund, with congratulations, was nominated and confirmed in her new role as Board President, entering her third year as MDUSD Trustee. Newly elected Trustees Erin McFerrin and Keisha Nzewi started with a ceremonial oath of office, and went on to voice what would be the first motions and votes of their four-year terms. Along with Student Board Member Michelle Alas, they all together comprise a complete board of six, whose unique and diverse perspectives will shape the future of our school district.
     Learn about the role of the Governing BoardSee the Board Action Summary for December 14, 2020 | Watch the full meeting recording

     Now for the news—Amidst a current state-wide Purple Tier status, the Governing Board unanimously confirmed a delay to a hybrid model introduction, adding that the district should be seeking, with urgency, to introduce small group student supports that will benefit students. Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark expressed a vision in alignment with this direction. Union negotiations and the latest pandemic restrictions continue to characterize the services we offer, and district leadership has provided another negotiations update below. The Governing Board is set to revisit reopening plans at its first meeting of the new year on January 13, 2021.

Negotiations Update:
from the weekly Organizational Update to the Board
      The District bargaining team and Teacher's union (MDEA) met on Tuesday December 15.  The District presented proposals on Small Group Support Hubs, and Daily Live Interaction minutes.  The District and MDEA also openly discussed the third topic of re-opening criteria.
     The District Bargaining Team started the negotiation session presenting a proposal on Small Group Support Hubs.  This District proposal would bring students back to District schools to receive small group supports from District staff who volunteer.  The main area of disagreement remains the teacher union’s (MDEA’s) demand that teachers be paid additional compensation for voluntarily performing work with a small group/s of students during regular school day/contract hours. Similar to a number of other large urban districts across the state, our proposal is offering compensation for hours performed after school. MDEA confirmed that their position from their prior proposal is that unless the District provides additional compensation to MDEA members to see small groups of students during the employee workday, students will not be able to meet with any teacher who volunteers or any other service provider/s (with the exception of 1:1 testing, child care, children of staff, and athletics) at any time of the day.  The District Team shared that the language in the July MOU was not intended to forever limit the District’s ability to have students on campus. [1]
     The District Bargaining Team has presented multiple proposals requesting additional Daily Live Interaction Minutes.  The MDEA team has presented multiple proposals that teachers provide less Daily Instructional Minutes. The Teams discussed options, more specifically, exchanging current teacher “office hour” minutes if the teachers provide additional daily live interaction minutes.  
     The District's latest reopening criteria proposal continued to focus on the Contra Costa County Health Department’s school reopening metrics as one of the main criteria for reopening schools (but utilizing the County's Orange level as sufficiently safe).  The MDEA Team continues to propose additional requirements (e.g. Two or fewer new reported cases of COVID-19 in MDUSD students and employees for 14 consecutive days) before students and teachers may return.
     The District and MDEA will meet again in January.
     CST reached a Tentative Agreement with the District this Monday during fact Finding.  Details will follow as the agreement becomes finalized.
[1] It is important to note that on November 18, 2020, a supplemental MOU was signed by both MDEA and the District allowing no more than 4 students at a time (no more than 16 individual meetings) per day per school site.  MDEA requested that the District’s Team revisit the discussion with the Board inquiring whether they are willing to pay teachers for time spent with students in small groups during the school day.

For Your Review: Superintendent's Organizational Update to the Board

     We are proud to present to you transparent, detailed operations reports on a weekly basis. You can read department updates directly from our district leaders in Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark’s weekly Organizational Update to the Board, which is continuously archived for reference. Here is this week’s Organizational Update to the Board:

Organizational Update

USDA Proposes Lower Nutrition Standards as 'Flexibilities;' MDUSD Rejects

     The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing lower nutrition standards for its Child Nutrition Programs, labeling them as, "flexibilities," and Mt. Diablo Unified School District will have no part of it. In short, the proposal allows higher sodium content over time, more sugary beverages, and less whole grains. While it is not our place to assign any malicious motive to this proposal, we carry a strong perspective that lower standards like these cannot and should not be justified.

     MDUSD will not lower the high standards we have set for our Nutrition Program. As one of the largest meal providers in Contra Costa County, we understand the real impact we have on the health of students and its natural link to classroom success—that is the philosophy that drove us to earn our Green EatReal Certification.  Districts may independently elect to hold higher standards, but lowering the bar nationwide would only enable a negative impact on the health of students. We want our public to know that a public comment period about this proposal is open now; it is easy to take a stand let the USDA know your thoughts.
     Learn more about the USDA's proposal to lower nutrition standards | Take action: Leave a public comment with the USDA | Read the Concord Pioneer's article on MDUSD's Green EatReal Certification | See our vision and positive impact in Raley's "Good Never Stops"

Public Health Authorities: 'Stay Home' for the Holidays

     Stay Home Order on 12/16/2020 from Contra Costa Health Services

     The availability of Bay Area intensive care unit beds dropped to 12.9% on Dec. 15, triggering the State’s​ Regional Stay Home Order. This order will remain in effect for at least three weeks (Jan. 7) and will be lifted when ICU availability meets or exceeds 15%.
     We are in the midst of an unprecedented surge in cases and hospitalizations in California and across the country. Given the nationwide surge, the ability to add surge ICU capacity is limited by availability of ICU nurses and physicians. We need to protect our hospital capacity so those who need care—for such things as cancer treatment, heart attacks, and strokes—can get it. By taking this action we are saving lives, protecting our health care delivery system and keeping those at highest risk and essential workers safe.
     Our goal is to ensure everyone in the county is safe and healthy by reducing the number of people who get exposed, become sick, face long-term health consequences, or lose their lives from COVID-19. These are extremely challenging times, but our county has come together to address challenges before, and we know we can do it again.
     California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Regional Stay-Home Order (12/3/2020) | Contra Costa County Openings at a Glance | Frequently Asked Questions

Thanks to You, County 2020 Census Participation 'Outperformed'

     Contra Costa County achieved the third highest Census 2020 self-response rate of all California counties with a rate of 77.4% for the once-a-decade count of all residents. The County’s self-response rate also surpassed its Census 2010 rate of 72.1% by more than five points or a 7.4% increase. The County’s Census 2020 self-response rate outperformed the country’s 67% and the state’s 69.6% self-response rates. Nearly all of the cities in the County surpassed their 2010 rates, and those that did not were within 1% of doing so.
     Contra Costa County’s Complete Count Steering Committee and 67 community based organizations collaborated on the Census 2020 count. The County’s high response rate is owed in large part to the work of cities, agency and community partners, and trusted messengers who helped reach Contra Costa residents, including hard-to-count populations. 
     “Our success in Contra Costa County could not have happened without the strong partnerships with our local non-profits and community based organizations,” said District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, Chair of the Complete Count Committee. “We have built lasting relationships and capacity that will be mutually beneficial as we collaborate on outreach in all aspects of our work.” 
     “Thanks to all of the residents who responded to the Census. You have guaranteed that Contra Costa County will receive its fair share of representation and much-needed funding for critical programs and infrastructure for the next decade,” said District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen, Vice-Chair of the Complete Count Committee. 
     Now the U.S. Census Bureau will prepare the data to present to the President on December 31, 2020. The redistricting process will begin in Spring of 2021. Information about Contra Costa County’s Census 2020 outreach and impact are available at

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Each week, the MDUSD Friday Letter is written and compiled by the district's Communications Specialist and sent to a staff and community audience totaling around 32,000. To sign up for the distribution list, send an email to To view an archive of district communications, visit the Superintendent's Office page. Do you have a story or event to share with our community? Contact me ( with your ideas or suggestions.


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