Educational Services Monthly

Most Recent Updates: 3/1/2021

Site Hosted by Dr. Jessica Kiernan, SUESD Assistant Superintendent of Education

Educational Services Mission and Vision for 2020-2021

The new mission of Educational Services is to ensure all students receive high-quality teaching and learning experiences by providing teachers and administrators quality resources, systemic and collaboratively designed professional learning, enhanced collaboration opportunities, personal care, and ongoing support and feedback.

Our vision is to ensure all educators feel supported and valued while building their expert capacities in pedagogical best practices, wellness, and instructional content.

This Monthly Update has been created to help ensure we continuously work to achieve these goals.

March Updates

Greetings SUESD Team!

We hope this update finds you well. With so much happening in preparation for re-opening for hybrid instruction, reading this update may not be first on your list of things to do, but it is intended to provide you up to date information. As in past issues, the following outlines some current initiatives, updates, and trainings available to you statewide and locally.

As you are likely aware, CAASPP and ELPAC are still "on the table" at this point, though there has been some discussion about pushing out the timeline, using local data, and that data sufficiency. I will provide updates as they come through.

Re-opening teams have met at each level to refine the re-opening plans. We hope that some of the recent FaQs, especially at the elementary level, have been helpful. We do expect plans to evolve as we learn through the process of bringing more children back to school.

This is LCAP time again, yet in such a different year, stakeholder engagement, data dives, and goal-setting may look a little different than in years past. If you are interested in participating in the LCAP planning, please let me know by emailing me by March 15th.

Summer school planning is also underway. Our first planning team met at the end of February, and will continue to meet and plan through May. If you want to join our team, but have not yet inquired, we'd love to add you. Please let me know, by email, if you are interested.

An EL Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) Pilot is coming soon to NBMS! Our team will keep you posted in the upcoming newsletter!

Now, for good PDs, resources, etc....

Free Materials

Need help finding books to put into the hands of readers? Check out these resources and bring print and online books to qualifying schools and students. NEA- Support Your Readers: Free Resources

Learn It: Quick Modules to Improve Practice series

Suggested Audience: K-3 teachers, reading specialists, RTI coordinators
This set of modules offered by the LA COE focuses on teaching the 6 syllable types in early reading instruction, K-3. Click here to access all modules.

Want to build community in a socially distanced classroom? Click here for "Quick Tips" from the SC COE.

The 14th Annual STEAM Conference from UCSC’s Monterey Bay Area Mathematics Project & Monterey Bay Science Project is March 6th!

Interactive Virtual Math and Science Conference-click the EVENT INFORMATION button below to view session descriptions and presenter bios. A range of dynamic, fun and interactive sessions focusing on science, technology, engineering, art, and math. FREE Conference. 1 Unit from UOP available for $80.

Saturday, March 6, 2021- 9:00 am to 3:30 pm -> Registration link here.

New Distance Learning Lessons Are Available from Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History!
Museum Exhibit Lessons (2nd grade)

Over the course of three lessons, students deepen their observation-making abilities, learn about how to properly collect natural specimens, and create their own miniature museum exhibit. This project-based sequence will teach students how to interpret their findings and distinguish natural objects from one another based on their physical properties.

Nature Detectives Lesson Sequence (4th grade)

This four-part lesson sequence centers around the natural history of Pogonip open space, and how humans have used resources and affected the area throughout history, from Indigenous times to the present day. Students make observations, share predictions, and learn about how animals and plants can be affected by the actions of people. Go to the Learn More link to access lessons and information. Click here to access lessons.

Visit Farm Discovery Virtual Field Trip and Distance Learning Support Programs!

Classes visit the farm virtually to meet animals, explore many different fruits and vegetables, and participate in a 5E lesson sequence about omnivores. Activities include observing chickens through video, making your own food web and doing an omnivore kitchen hunt.

• For more information contact Lucie at or Click here to access their webpage.

Science and Environmental Literacy Teacher Collaborative: Santa Cruz County Office of Education hosts this monthly virtual gathering the first Thursday of each month from 4pm - 5pm. All teachers and community-based environmental education partners are welcome. Topics will be completely driven by participants’ current needs, ideas, and concerns around science and environmental literacy.

Talking About Race, Privilege, Gender and Sexual Orientation in the Elementary Classroom (FREE Pre-Conference Session) on March 4th.

Teachers want to teach about race, gender, privilege and sexual orientation, but are not sure how to do so. This diverse panel representing African American, Japanese, LatinX, LGBTQ and Muslim cultures will share their personal stories and then, strategies to apply in teaching in the elementary school classroom. Presented by Rob Darrow. See information here.

The California Math Framework

The California Math Framework is being revised, and educators are invited to preview and comment on all chapters. Dig in and Discuss the Revised Framework with Santa Cruz County Educators: Wed. March 3, 4:00-5:15 Register HERE. The Santa Clara COE is offering Framework Fireside Chats by chapter, and all are invited

The Monterey Bay World Language Project: Powerful Assessment Practices Training is Here!

A three-session training on Powerful Assessment Practices: Feedback and Grading that Fosters Student Investment. This training will explore key insights into how to effectively and efficiently engage formative feedback practices., explore grading and reporting practices that focus on communicating learning and fostering hope and efficacy and tie assessment evidence to standards to increase the quality and validity of grades.

Click here to access the flyer.

Improving Education for Multilingual and English Learner Students: From Research to Practice (Publication and Webinar Series)

A new CDE publication, Improving Education for Multilingual and English Learner Students: Research to Practice. The webinar series is designed to engage the field and support educators in incorporating the publication in professional learning settings. Accompanying webinars for each chapter with chapter authors presenting. Click here for webinar links.

Formative Assessment

The CDE has added formative assessment lessons for grade K-5 to the Tools for Teachers. Learn more here.

Tools to Support Science Distance Learning

The CISC Science subcommittee has developed a suite of tools to support science distance learning. The tools focus on supporting families, instruction, and professional development to implement the NGSS in a distance learning environment. Click here to access flyer with embedded resources!

Cal Water H2O Challenge's Classroom Challenge is a project-based, environmentally-focused competition for classrooms, grades 4-6. Brought to you in conjunction with DoGoodery, the WestEd K-12 Alliance, and Cal Water, and in partnership with the California Association of Science Educators, the Classroom Challenge is aligned with Common Core State Standards and complementary to the Next Generation Science Standards. Click here to access challenge details.

Explore Google Arts & Culture Art as Activism.

Explore this website for lots of resources for the Arts and Art as Activism.

Arts Council Santa Cruz: Virtual Classroom in All Art Forms

Click here for Arts at Home Resources!

I hope the resources shared are of interest to you or a member of your team. If you find something you like, pass it along.

Thank you for all you do!

NEW- Great Racial Justice Resources for Teachers and Families!

The danger of a single story | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

More Professional Development Opportunities

SCCOE also offers:

Click here for Distance Learning Professional Development 2020-2021 Local Calendar of Offerings

Click here to access ICLE Future Ready Webinar Series- FREE. Topics include:

  • Culture and Leadership
  • Effective Strategies for Remote Teaching
  • Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Family Engagement and Support
  • Student Motivation and Support

Click here to access Webinar and Slide Deck from Dr. Katie Novak on UDL: Supporting English Learners with Disabilities.


Another ongoing place you can share resources and ideas is through Padlet links below. (You can add new columns, topics, ideas, thoughts resources, videos, sites, etc… at anytime!)


Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6-8

Click here to reference SUESD August PD Slides, Sessions, and Resources

Curated Resources in Areas of Professional and Personal Interests

EMPATHY - BEST SPEECH OF ALL TIME By Simon Sinek | Inspiritory
Google for Education: The Anywhere School 2020

Google's excited to invite you to The Anywhere School, an online event to celebrate educators and explore the future of education with panels, keynotes, & more.

A Focus on Instructional Priorities



WATCH THIS EVERYDAY AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE - Denzel Washington Motivational Speech 2020

Student "I Can" Statements

About Us

Dr. Jessica L. Kiernan, Assistant Superintendent of Education

Ms. Jackie Gomez, Administrative Assistant

We Want to Hear from You

Click here to access our Idea and Suggestion Padlet Share Wall!

Archived Updates

Previous Newsletter Updates by Month

September Updates

Through the ever-evolving tides of change in the world, we must maintain flexibility, while continuing to follow through with our commitment to continuous support and growth. To these ends, there are a few areas in which our continued and collaborative work is essential.

Our SUESD District Leadership Team (DLT) has demonstrated ongoing care and commitment to students and colleagues, even into the summer months in preparation for the start of this school year. Our August PD offerings and SEL-based student check-in lesson were among their dedicated work efforts. As this kind of work is what makes this district such an amazing place to practice our art of teaching, it takes true and collegial teams working toward a common purpose. This year we will be continuing to refine and grow our DLT commitments and process to better serve us all. In the coming days, we will begin to establish this 2020-2021 team. This year's team will focus on topics and content developed through your input and our collective interests. An interest and input survey regarding development and growth will be produced and sent as this team begins this year's important work.

We look ahead to days when a clearer future path for our world exists, but until then it will be our goal to set as clear of a path as is possible to ensure we all have what we need to be and feel successful.

Coming soon...

More Training and Collaboration Opportunities

Adoption Updates

English Learner Support Updates

Engagement Strategies


October Updates

Building professional growth and collective capacity is essential in any organization, but nowhere more true than in the work of an educator. While this resource is intended to provide you a pathway for some new information, research, resources, we also need social interaction and validation. PD days are one way we attempt to meet this important need.

Thanks to all of you who responded to our most recent PD and Collaboration Google Form. It proved to be extraordinarily helpful as we move our work forward. We hope you will find our PD day applicable and relevant. In it, you will find student-focused and adult-focused options, including, English Learner support, engagement with a lens on Trauma-Informed Care, and more. Click here for the October 12, 2020 Professional Development and Collaboration Day Agenda.

In addition, I am happy to report our district's DLT will reconvene at the end of this month and include representative members from each school site and each grade level. It is a goal that this team includes your voices through input and inquiry cycles in efforts to increase transparency, support, new understanding, and collective efficacy.

Training of newly purchased instructional materials for SEPUP at the middle school level has begun, and National Geographic at the middle school level is now underway. FOSS instructional materials at the elementary level will be the next planned new materials training to be planned and will be led by members of our science teams, with attention to possible implications of virtual learning. Excitedly, instructional materials intended for use by English Learners and EL Specialists through Imagine Learning, a digital environment, are being purchased across the district currently, and will include EL team training through ILE.

It has also been the work of the Educational Services Department these past few months to meet various, but important state accountability requirements through a series of mandatory reports and plans. if you are interested in taking a look, please click the links below.

Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan

Multiphase Distance Learning Plan: Volume II

COVID 19 Operations Written Report


November/December Update

I am happy to report our district's DLT reconvened at the end of October. Our team includes representative members from each school site and each grade level. It is a goal that this team includes your voices through input and inquiry cycles in efforts to increase transparency, support, new understanding, and collective efficacy.

To these ends, our DLT meeting focused primarily on the current county health status and a shift to hybrid teaching and learning following the winter break. Our superintendent continued this discussion into additional staff and family forums, including another round of surveys for data gathering purposes. And while there is a long way to go, we are all making nice first steps with our middle school and elementary think tanks. Attached here is the SCCOE COVID 19 Guidance Document.

Our elementary report card sub-committee and ed-tech teams have also met to discuss adjustments to the mid-year report card. These adjustments were finalized on December 1st- Thank you team!

It was also great to see so many SUESD staff at the Pear Deck Trial training on the 5th of last month. Whether you attended this training or not you can join in on the district's trial. Additional links to training and tutorials are below. Enjoy!

Pear Deck Training Video

Help Videos

Templates Library

I am also pleased to share a new link with all of you: BAY SCI Science Resources and PD for Teaching Science Virtually. It is a great new access point for promoting science in a Distance Learning Environment.

For those of you who do not know, at the request of our EL specialist and intervention team, we researched and have purchased ILE for our English Learners. ILE (Imagine Language & Literacy) is an adaptive learning solution that accelerates reading and language proficiency for students in grades PreK–6. Designed to supplement core literacy instruction, Imagine Language & Literacy provides instruction and practice in all four domains of literacy—reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

As you know our county's districts are transitioning to new Student Informations Systems (SIS). This process takes a lot of work- building the framework and foundations take a lot of time before we can even begin transitioning the data from our existing system to Infinite Campus (IC). Our transition team of Cory, Christina, George, and I have already met twice with IC to make this transition as successful as possible for all.

Also, on December 9, 2020 — 3-4 p.m. You can learn about successful approaches to standards-based environmental literacy curriculum that reflects ongoing updates to California’s content frameworks. Explore a variety of proven professional learning and collaborative approaches that county offices of education and school districts have used to help teachers deliver solutions-oriented, integrated curriculum for in-person and distance learning formats. Click here to register.

There is another way to put your students' creativity to work in a new Seymour Center Engineering Design Challenge to solve two plastic pollution problems. This learning activity targets NGSS Engineering Design standard K-2-ETS1-2 but is easily adapted to other grade levels.

“3-Act Tasks in Distance Learning” PD is being hosted by our county Math and Science Teachers K-8, Instructional Coaches on December 7, 3:30-4:45 PM via Zoom. 3-Act Tasks are whole-group tasks consisting of three distinct parts: Act One - an engaging and perplexing situation; Act Two - an informational and solution-seeking session; Act Three - a solution discussion and reveal. 3-Act Tasks are especially powerful at building student agency, ownership, and identity as “doers” of math and science. Click here to register.

November was Novel Writing Month! Writing a novel is not just for adults. Check out NaNoWriMo for Young Writers. Kids stories matter!

SVMI is hosting “Building and Sustaining Community is a Mathmateically Powerful Virtual Classroom” Participants will deepen their understanding of the Five Dimensions of Mathematically Powerful Classrooms to create and nurture a classroom culture that fosters mathematics discourse to deepen conceptual understanding while integrating SVMI tools & resources. Each month the sessions will address content to support distance learning and share high-quality virtual lessons. Please RSVP at this link (Case Sensitive)

Small-Group Cohorts are up and running with the support of our terrific classified team! Seeing kids back on campus is a joy to see!

ELPAC assessments are now concluded. Our EL specialists have done an amazing job completing this important and daunting task. Thank you!


January February Updates

Peardeck is now available to all SUESD teachers. If you have not yet begun your Peardeck journey, please let your site administrator know, and we can get you started! Thank you to the Peardeck Pilot Team for their meaningful feedback and engagement!

Thank you also to your teams’ collaboration and PD at the onset of our return to school in January! We hope the time set aside was helpful and worthwhile.

Now, for some new offerings….

This is a podcast from the Leading Equity Center. The speaker is Dr. Muhammed Khalifa. Check it out at this link: leading equity center. how to be a culturally responsive leader.

For more great Equity Podcasts click here.

Also, are you interested in a “Free Teachers College Reading/Writing Project Parent & Caregiver Workshop”?

Join expert Teachers College Reading and Writing Project staff at our upcoming workshop day for parents and caregivers of students in grades K-8. Learn more about ways to support your child’s literacy education at home, what or how they are learning in school, how to best engage in home literacy projects, and more.

These days are typically 2-3 hours long, composed of a series of 15-minute small-group presentations. Parents and caregivers can choose the workshops that match their needs and are free to come for one workshop or many. Register here.

Are you interested in “Designing for Literacy Development in the Hybrid Classroom Webinar Series from the CDE”? (See recorded webinars below.)

Session #1: Becoming Expert Readers and Writers (was on December 14, 2020, 3 to 4 p.m.)

Having a clear vision of what successful readers and writers do is essential to designing educational experiences to get them there. In this session, we will use the concept of an expert learner to craft a vision of what we are trying to achieve in our classroom. Use this session to set goals for your own practice and choose a place to start in supporting learners to become expert learners. Webinar recording available at

Session #2: Accessibility in Hybrid Literacy (Was on January 11, 2021, 3 to 4 p.m.)

The first essential building block to an effective literacy approach is to consider the accessibility of the experience. Modeling and practicing tools to make language accessible will increase learners’ ability to focus on new learning. Use this session to experience tools and resources that make literacy instruction more accessible for all learners. Webinar recording available at

The COE will be sponsoring virtual parent nights to support families. The Goal: Inspire and support parents to see that learning can happen anytime, anywhere. February’s parent night will be focused on math. A Spanish interpreter will be present. February 22, 2021 from 6:00-7:15 pm

More about the SCCOE Parent Series can be found here. Pass along to your families.

Lessons and Resources About Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement Beyond “I have a dream.” Many of the resources are also featured on the Zinn Education Project website. Civil Rights Teaching

Four sessions, led by SEALto support teachers in designing responsive ELD lessons that build upon students’ knowledge across the disciplines. Teachers will expand their understanding of backward planning to identify English Learners’ strengths and needs to provide targeted language instruction using language functions, graphic organizers, differentiated frames, language transfer strategies, and formative assessment strategies to ensure students to effectively engage with complex texts and tasks. Our team started their work with EL Rise on January 13! More information here.

A new video series from CDE shows paired Designated and Integrated ELD classroom instruction at different grade spans and in ELA, math and science. Includes an administrators guide to support use for professional learning. A webinar series on the videos will also be offered beginning January 19. Link to Webinar Series Info Here.

Would you like to explore an integrated approach to teaching environmental literacy? Did you know that the Science and History-Social Science Frameworks overlap? Do you want to empower your students to connect with community partners and take civic action for climate justice? January 21 and February 18--two virtual sessions on environmental literacy and climate justice put on in partnership with Region 5’s History-Social Science Content, Literacy, Inquiry, and Citizenship (CLIC) Project’s Community of Practice. All are welcome including K-16 educators, administrators, paraprofessionals. Register here. Learn More Here

January 26 or January 28, 3:30-5:30 on Zoom. High quality math-focused Professional Development, open to all educators in Santa Cruz County. Sign up ASAP for the grade band that interests you: TK-1, Gr 2-3, Gr 4-5, Middle School, High School

Register Here

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond recently announced the release of the new CDE publication, Improving Education for Multilingual and English Learner Students. The publication is designed to support local educational agencies (LEAs) to implement the English Learner Roadmap Policy in schools and improve instruction for both English learners and other students learning multiple languages. The CDE Multilingual Support Division led the development of this publication with assistance from well-known and respected experts within their fields. The publication demonstrates how LEAs have implemented research-based practices that positively impact multilingual and English learner students as it relates to social emotional learning, early learning and care, integrated and designated English language development, multilingual education, systems improvement, teacher development, and parent engagement. Guide Improving Education for Multi-lingual and English Learners (pdf)

Want to connect your students to marine science, exploration, and engineering? Experience five new virtual programs for grades 2nd-12th. Programs can be live (synchronous) or pre-recorded, (asynchronous). More info here.

Back Pocket Learning is a searchable collection of simple, nature and garden-related activities that work well in a remote learning context. Many activities have videos to show students, with some videos available in Spanish as well as English.

Our Student Services Teams have been administering special education assessments for several weeks now, and have done an amazing job!

As we move toward different color levels in our county, please know that in all of this uncertainty is you- an awesome educator! You are deeply appreciated!