Team Update 9/8/20

Dear SBCSS Team,

On Aug. 31, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy took effect, which is a new framework for reducing COVID-19 in California with revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on businesses and activities. The new blueprint consists of four tiers—Purple (Widespread), Red (Substantial), Orange (Moderate) and Yellow (Minimal). Every county in the state is assigned a tier based on COVID-19 test positivity and case rates. According to the new blueprint, the County of San Bernardino falls within the purple tier, which is parallel to the previous countywide monitoring list.

Beginning this week, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Employees Benefit Association will be awarding teachers within the region for their selfless dedication to children and for the strong partnerships developed between the sheriff’s department and schools. One $2,000 check will be distributed to 10 different schools, where eight teachers per school will be rewarded for their outstanding hard work. Thank you SEBA for your support of public education!

Superintendent’s Message
“I want to give special thanks to all of our essential workers in education, health care, law enforcement, janitorial, grocery and agricultural occupations. You have labored under challenging times to support and serve others. We truly appreciate your sacrifice and dedication.” View this week’s message.

Business Services
Departments within the Business Services branch have been providing support to Rialto Unified School District following a recent malware attack: Procurement Services moved quickly to procure loaner technology to assist the district throughout their recovery period; Internal Business and District Financial Services supported the district’s financial and payroll staff to ensure Rialto employees and vendors received pay warrants; and MOT opened the Mt. View facility to house pertinent Rialto staff. Thank you to our SBCSS team members for providing excellence in service to Rialto so the district can maintain essential functions for its students and employees.

Education Support Services
SBCSS welcomes Mr. Jim Dilday and Mr. Doug Slonkosky to interim positions in Education Support Services. Mr. Dilday—a familiar face to many at County Schools due to his work with our county student advisory panels—is serving as interim assistant superintendent following the recent retirement of Dr. Beth Higbee. Mr. Doug Slonkosky is a former County Schools’ employee and returns to serve as the interim director of Curriculum Instruction and Academic Enrichment. Let’s give them a warm SBCSS welcome! The Family and Community Engagement Summit for 2020 is going virtual. The event is open to parents, districts and community stakeholders to support student academic achievement by strengthening families and communities in the education of our youth. The Family and Community Engagement Summit takes place September 22-25 from 3-5 p.m. Registration is free.

Human Resources
Human Resources continues to work alongside SBCSS branches to recruit and hire necessary staff while supporting current employees with COVID-19-related issues. Risk Management has assured that social distancing signage has been installed at County Schools facilities as a reminder to adhere to the Center of Disease Control and health department guidelines. The Local Solutions and California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program grants are in place for our future teachers. We are looking forward to supporting our new educators!

Innovation and Engagement
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be extending several flexibilities though Dec. 31. The extension will provide for summer meal program operators to continue serving free meals to all school children into the fall months. This will ensure children who need meals have access to nutritious foods regardless of paperwork or qualifications. On Sept. 2, Sergeant John Echevarria, public relations officer with the San Bernardino Police Department, presented to the Gangs and Drugs Task Force. Sergeant Echevarria provided a great overview on several programs within the department, working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, active recruitment for new officers and updates on peaceful protests and positive engagement through community policing. The 2021 Mock Trial has 22 teams signed up so far for the first virtual Mock Trial student competition. If you are interested in volunteering for the Mock Trial or any upcoming student event, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Office of the Superintendent
County Superintendent Ted Alejandre participated in a panel discussion hosted by Congressman Peter Aguilar on Sept. 1. The discussion focused on the importance of providing resources for students and families within the Inland Empire; to help them overcome the challenges they may be facing through this pandemic. In partnership with the County Department of Veterans Affairs, SBCSS is sponsoring the 12th annual Operation Recognition Veterans Diploma Project—an opportunity to provide veterans and internees whose high school education was interrupted due to military service or internment, a high school diploma as authorized through the California Education Code. The deadline to apply is Monday, Oct. 5. For information, visit the County Schools’ Veterans Diploma Project website.

Student Services
With the 2020-21 academic school year moving forward in a virtual format for most San Bernardino County school districts, Student Services continues to work with Technology Services to respond quickly to student or staff requests for devices. SS staff continues to communicate on a frequent basis with families and connects with students on a daily basis. These types of interactions have led to an increase in student participation, attendance and engagement! Teachers and itinerant service providers are documenting both synchronous and asynchronous instruction aligned to individual student educational programs, instructional needs and SB 98 requirements. Principals are observing and supporting virtual instruction and documenting innovative and engaging practices. The entire SS team continues to work collaboratively to promote a robust instructional program for all students.

Technology Services
As of Sept. 2, our service-centered Technical Services staff has assisted Student Services with the preparation and delivery of more than 110 T-Mobile hot spots and 517 student devices to be used for distance learning. TS representatives also have been working closely with Rialto Unified district staff to assist in their recovery from a serious malware attack. The district is slowly recovering and has been able to restart online distance learning for many of its students. The Digital Learning Services team hosted another Webisode Wednesday session. More than 60 educators from schools throughout the county, including several UCR instructors, participated in the webinar. This week’s topic covered the concepts of online play and how to incorporate periods of play into online and distance learning environments.

We Need You!
The 2020 census is happening now! It aims to count the entire population of a county, so that each region receives the proper amount of federal funding for communities, schools, social programs and city maintenance. In San Bernardino County, there are more than 70 percent of children who are economically disadvantaged. Being counted helps create resources for those children. Our federal, state and local officials and education and community leaders are working together to create a better quality of life for San Bernardino County residents. You can take part in helping your community by completing the census online, by phone or by mail. The deadline to be counted is Sept. 30.

Be counted and be well!

Team Update 9/21/20

Dear SBCSS Team,

County Schools pays respect to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed on Sept. 19. She was the second woman to sit on the high court and served more than 27 years as an associate justice. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a true inspiration. We will remember her for her fierce advocacy of women's rights and gender equality, and how she was a trailblazer in the field of law and the history of our country.

Steady progress continues to be made within our county with the reopening of schools through the elementary school waiver process. The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health recently approved four elementary schools in Bear Valley Unified for in-person instruction for grades TK-5. For listing of schools approved or pending for in-class instruction, visit https://sbcovid19.com/schools/.

Superintendent’s Message
“Did you know that, according to one study, a bachelor’s degree is worth $2.8 million on average over a lifetime? Whether a technical school or a four-year college, education has the power to transform lives.” View this week’s message.

Business Services
District Financial Services is currently working with the San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller to coordinate audit site visits to school districts. The warehouse was notified that the California Department of Emergency Services will be allocating another shipment of personal protective equipment for our San Bernardino County school districts and charter schools. Procurement continues to help cover immediate PPE needs for all employees, including staff interacting with small cohorts of students at open sites. Please check the Stores warehouse catalog for your PPE needs.

Education Support Services
The Early Literacy team provided a FootSteps2Brillance and early literacy training to more than 35 SBCSS state preschool teachers. The training included how to help families utilize F2B for at-home learning. The Family and Community Engagement Summit will be held this week‑‑Sept. 22-25 from 3-5 p.m. each afternoon. A different keynote speaker will be featured each day. The free event is designed to increase partnerships with parents, district/school family engagement teams and community stakeholders. Participants will be empowered with the knowledge to guide all students toward college and career readiness.

Human Resources
Human Resources selected participants for both the Local Solutions Grant and the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program. Additionally, the branch recently administered the selection process for the countywide Teachers of the Year program. The recipients will be announced later this week and recipients will be recognized at a virtual ceremony on Oct. 13. Stay tuned for additional details. Risk Management continues to ensure that all SBCSS sites clearly display COVID-19 compliant signage and that all employees are provided with the proper equipment to stay safe.

Innovation and Engagement
Thanks to Prop 56 and Prop 99 tobacco taxation, our Tobacco Use and Prevention Education program was awarded a $1.5 million grant. The grant will provide funding for prevention resources, training and support to our San Bernardino County school districts. Bear Valley, Oro Grande, Rialto, Rim of the World, Snowline and SBCSS alternative education programs will take part in the 3-year grant cycle.

Office of the Superintendent
On Sept. 16, County Superintendent Ted Alejandre participated in SEBA on Demand, The San Bernardino Employee Benefits Association podcast series. The episode focused on educational resources for parents and SEBA’s revised approach to Back to School Shop with a Cop. SEBA’S revised approach this year, consisted of the organization awarding San Bernardino County teachers for their outstanding commitment to students and strengthening the partnership between the sheriff’s department and their schools. On Sept. 17, Superintendent Alejandre congratulated the final two schools that were each awarded a $2,000 check as a part of SEBA’s Back to School Shop with a Cop Teacher Edition. In collaboration with Riverside County Office of Education, SBCSS will be co-hosting an equity webinar series, “Real Race Talk: Opening the Lines of Communication, an Ongoing Dialogue to Equity in Education.” The registration is free and open to the public.

Student Services
On Sept. 12, Olivia Dahlin and Melinda Miller presented Trauma Resilient Organization training to the Desert/Mountain Operations special education staff. The goal of the training is to increase understanding of stress, trauma, cultural humility and how we operate individually as well as organizationally. The goal is to mitigate the effects of stress and trauma to promote resiliency and recovery. Student Services worked in collaboration with Human Resources and San Bernardino California Teacher Association to develop protocols and forms for safe in-person assessment of students. As of Sept. 21, in-person assessment of students, as appropriate and necessary may be conducted by SBCSS staff.

Technology Services
Digital Learning Services Innovation Coordinator Sonal Patel was recently recognized as a K-12 IT influencer by EdTech Magazine! Sonal is blazing a trail providing professional learning opportunities to teachers across our region to help increase their skills in blended learning. Congratulations Sonal! Keep up the awesome work. The DLS team hosted a Learner Engagement training for more than 130 educators in Etiwanda School District. Each webinar discussed useful strategies and techniques to boost student engagement during distance learning. As of Sept. 17, the Technology Services team in collaboration with Student Services has assisted in suppling more than 500 digital devices to our students. Way to go team!

We Need You!
We’d like to wish everyone a happy National Hispanic Latino Heritage Month! Rather than running from the beginning of the month, Hispanic Heritage runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to coincide with the independence of Latin American countries. We encourage you to celebrate the many remarkable contributions this profound community has made to strengthen, unify and empower us all!

The Communications’ office will be combining the weekly COVID-19 Team Update with other internal communication of importance to all SBCSS staff members. Watch for the new format beginning next Wednesday, Sept. 30. To make sure your branch/department internal news is included, please continue to send important staff and operational announcements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our social media presence on Facebook and Twitter will continue to keep you informed with news, photos and videos highlighting students and programs.

Each of you are valued members of the SBCSS family and we want all our staff to remain healthy and safe. Remember to wear face coverings, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face with your hands to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate the work you do in support of public education. Stay safe and be well.

 

Team Update 9/14/20

Dear SBCSS Team,

Our thoughts go out to the staff, families and students who have been affected by the El Dorado fire. It has been a stressful time adjusting to new learning environments and staying vigilant on advisories from the San Bernardino County Fire Department. We are grateful to the firefighters, pilots and law enforcement officers for their dedication to save lives and to protect homes and businesses.

Positive news has echoed through our county with Lucerne Valley Unified School District successfully bringing students and staff back to campus for in-person instruction for grades TK-6. Lucerne Valley Elementary is following a hybrid model; staff and students attend school in-person two days a week with the rest of the school week being conducted virtually. All staff and students are abiding safety precautions and public health guidelines and are actively engaged in classroom instruction.

Superintendent’s Message
“We remain a country full of hope for the future of our children. A country that believes in the potential of every student to transform their life through education.” View this week’s message.

Business Services
Business Services’ departments continue to work together as a team to provide services to Rialto Unified School District in the wake of its recent malware attack. Purchasing directors and facility planners have resumed their bimonthly meetings. The meetings provide peer support and opportunities to share best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to signal issues with Frontier Communications, Maintenance, Operations and Transportation recently installed a Voice Over Internet Protocol telephone system at the Norma Covert Early Education Center. Technology Services will be placing phones on separate virtual local areas to improve service.

Education Support Services
The Prevention and Intervention team hosted the first session of the Social Emotional Learning Leadership series. More than 90 participants, from districts across Southern California, attended the morning and afternoon sessions. SBCSS, Riverside, San Diego and Alameda County are partnering together to share strategies and efforts to support the role of County Offices in distance learning using Canvas. Canvas is a course management system that supports online learning and teaching. This year, three districts within San Bernardino County have successfully launched Canvas. Next steps include supporting the RIMS AVID team in launching their regional trainings using the online platform. AVID and the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (CalSOAP) will be hosting a free virtual college fair on Sept. 24. The fair will consist of college information and financial aid process breakouts, opportunity drawings and college representatives from CSUs, UCs, private and out-of-state colleges. Sessions will be offered for students, parents and educators. Stay tuned for additional details.

Human Resources
Human Resources has been diligently working with Student Services to ensure that students and staff at Lucerne Valley and Bear Valley school districts have the tools they need to be successful with in-person instruction. The SBCSS Workplace Transition Plan and Protocols have served as a helpful tool. We will continue to work closely with labor and all stakeholders to align with the California Department of Public Health guidelines to provide quality instruction and support for our students and staff.

Innovation and Engagement
The Alliance for Education/ROP team is creating professional development modules to assist with building Innovation and Engagement branch’s capacity using online platforms. The team is also in the process of developing micro-internships and piloting a launch in the first two weeks of October. The Healthy SBCSS team partnered with KVCR to develop four wellness features to run during the month of Sept. in support of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The series is called Wellness for Times of Uncertainty. The four-part series will include bipolar disorder during social isolation, grief sensitivity, youth mental health first aid training and youth suicide and the link between social media and depression. The series will be available through the end of the month.

Office of the Superintendent
County Superintendent Ted Alejandre welcomed participants at a KQED webinar on Distance Learning Needs with Public Media. The webinar focused on how schools, districts and county offices have successfully used public media resources to strengthen distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. At this month’s board meeting, The San Bernardino County Board of Education and Ted Alejandre recognized retiring SBCSS staff. Congratulations to State Preschool Operations Manager Becky Thams, East Valley Operations Teacher Lindamae Lopez, Principal George Bowser and Principal Regina Criswell Ed.D. for their years of service in education. Thank you all for your hard work and best wishes on your new journey!

Student Services
On Sept. 10, alternative education principals and staff participated in a webinar titled, Lifting As We Climb with Chief of Equity and Access Cherina Betters, Ed.D.. The webinar is the first in a year-long series that will focus on building positive relationships for every student through authentic learning, equity and access.

Student Services first small cohort started at Lucerne Valley High School on Sept. 10. Both students and staff were happy to be back in school. Students and staff were socially distanced and also wore face shields/and or face masks as appropriate. SS will continue to work with staff and association leaders to ensure a safe return to school for both employees and students.

Technology Services
Technology Services continues to assist Student Services with the preparation and delivery of T-Mobile hotspots and devices for distance learning. The Digital Learning Services team delivered an EdTech Tools webinar for the teachers at Dorothy Gibson County High School. The DLS team focused on helping teachers improve their distance learning skills when delivering synchronous and asynchronous instruction. On Oct. 10-11, TS will be doing maintenance over the weekend. Access to the internet and Financial 2000 may be interrupted during this time. The team will try and keep any service interruptions to a minimum. If you have questions, please contact TS at 909.381.8585 or through email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We Need You!
As of today, all SBCSS employees will receive a KACE alert with a reminder to conduct a daily wellness self-check for COVID-19 related symptoms. The notification is set to be delivered at 7:30 a.m. every weekday and will be seen when employees first login to their computer. Staff must acknowledge the message by clicking on the OK button in the notification window. Please take time to consider whether or not you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed. If you did not receive the Daily Wellness Check notification from the KACE system, please contact the Technical Services Helpdesk at 909-381-8585.

Please stay safe and continue to adhere to public health and safety guidelines.

Team Update 8/31/20

Dear SBCSS Team,

Last week, the California Department of Public Health released new guidance on returning to work following COVID-19 diagnosis and on small cohorts/groups of children and youth. CDPH also provided guidance on COVID-19 case and contact management with childcare facilities. The new forms of guidance aim at providing more information on areas of big concern and on areas that are not fully addressed in the Center of Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Superintendent’s Message
“And topping out the week, it was with great joy that our Student Services Class of 2020 graduates were presented their high school diplomas in a drive-through commencement ceremony attended by their principals, teachers and families. We could not be prouder of the accomplishments of our students.” View this week’s message.

Business Services
Maintenance Operations and Transportation is working with Risk Management and Student Services in reopening California Children’s Services at Lucy E. Siegrist School in Hesperia. CCS is a state program for children with certain health issues. MOT is assisting with parking, directional signs, closure of waiting rooms and installation of partitions that will separate CCS and SBCSS staff. Procurement continues to work with Risk Management to provide protective personal equipment, signage and safety supplies for our SBCSS staff returning to work. Business Advisory Services is preparing, reviewing and updating district cashflows for 2019-2020, 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. BAS will begin reviewing unaudited actual reports, which must be completed and submitted to the California Department of Education by Oct. 15.

Human Resources
Human Resources has been working on providing training for the Laserfiche electronic requisition form to ensure that all management, generators and approvers are thoroughly up to speed on this new system. HR is in the process of planning for the upcoming Personnel Administrators meeting. This countywide meeting provides vital professional development as well as valuable opportunities to collaborate on best practices. The branch also will hold unemployment workshops on Sept. 15 and 22 that will provide an overview of efficient claims processing.

Student Services
On Aug. 28, Student Services held a drive-through Commencement Ceremony for the Class of 2020. The event was held at Barbara Phelps County Community School to honor our graduating seniors. The graduation planning committee works all year to plan the event that recognizes alternative education students for their hard work and resiliency. Thank you to the planning committee for its dedication and teamwork. It was a memorable celebration for students, families and staff. Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

Innovation and Engagement
Last week, Assistant Superintendent of Innovation and Engagement Stephanie Houston participated in the One Simple Question project. The project engages with people from all over the world with one simple question: “What do you do to lift yourself up when you are feeling down?” The idea is to illustrate how everyone feels down sometimes, and that we each cope with our feelings in different ways. The seventh annual SBCSS Reading Rally kicks off tomorrow, Sept. 1, with a month full of readings from community members, weekly reading challenges and resources for parents and teachers. Thank you to everyone who submitted a video to the student events team. Child Welfare and Attendance is preparing for an upcoming webinar titled “School Records Workshop” that will be hosted by the Director of Children Deserve Success Don English and by Sherman Garnett of Garnett & Associates. It is scheduled for Sept. 30. Registration is now open. The Gangs and Drugs Task Force has been busy preparing for its upcoming Safety Summit on Oct. 15. The next GDTF general meeting will be on Sept. 2 at 8 a.m., followed by an executive board meeting on Sept. 9 at 7:30 a.m.

Education Support Services
Education Support Services continues to review the Learning Continuity and Attendance plans. On Aug. 25, ESS presented its California English Learner Roadmap, which looks at strengthening educational policy programs and practices for English Learners. The webinar was an overall success with powerful conversations and great developments. This last week, SBCSS celebrated the retirement of Beth Higbee, assistant superintendent of Education Support Services. Thank you for your 40 years of service in education. Good luck on your new journey!

Office of the Superintendent
Educators, administrators and community members from San Bernardino County participated Aug. 27 in “Equity Minded: Challenges Facing Vulnerable Students.” The webinar was the third in a series related to addressing issues of equity in public schools. County Superintendent Ted Alejandre encouraged attendees to continue this important work. Colton Joint Unified School District Superintendent Frank Miranda hosted the virtual CJUSD Community Cabinet meeting on Aug. 26. The County Superintendent participated along with the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health Director Corwin Porter and Dr. Troy Pennington from Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. The superintendent provided updates on school frameworks for reopening and the collective partnerships with school districts across the county. Porter and Pennington shared the latest updates on public health in San Bernardino County.

Technology Services
The Digital Learning Services team led the EdTech Coaches Network meeting in collaboration with the Riverside County of Education. More than 50 EdTech coaches and teachers on special assignment collaborated on how to best support our educators and districts throughout our region with distance learning. The team has also been busy working with Technology Services on the preparations for our SBCSS eSports Virtual League. It will consist of safe, fun virtual tournaments for students on a monthly basis. The first pilot tournament with students will be held later in month. For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We Need You!
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected both the physical and mental health of our communities. Challenges created by feelings of isolation and anxiety can be difficult to detect. There are efforts to destigmatize the need to seek counseling or support. September is National Suicide Awareness Month. This year’s suicideprevention week is Sept. 6-12. Innovation and Engagement’s Healthy SBCSS initiative will share tools and resources to encourage communication for improved mental health. SBCSS offers free counseling support without the need for a referral using the Employee Assistance Program provided by Health Advocate. To make an appointment for a counselor in your area, call 1.866.799.2728

Thank you to everyone who sent in a photo of their new, fun virtual classrooms. It is inspiring to see individuals being creative with their new distance learning environments. Keep up the positive efforts!

As a reminder, our offices will be closed on Sept. 7 in observance of the Labor Day holiday. We hope you enjoy this holiday weekend while hopefully practicing social distancing, washing your hands and wearing face coverings in public spaces.

Each of you are valued members of the SBCSS family. We need you. Stay safe and stay well.

Team Update 8/3/20

Dear SBCSS Team,

Beginning this week, students at some San Bernardino County schools will begin the new academic year with distance learning. To ensure that students have the basic technology to access their virtual learning environment, the California Department of Education will grant California schools learning loss mitigation funds to acquire digital devices, help address learning gaps, strengthen distance learning and close the digital divide. SBCSS is dedicated to promoting equitable outcomes within remote learning for all its students. We have partnered with Empire KVCR and Riverside County School Districts to provide an at-home California state standards-aligned educational televised programming in English and Spanish for students in grades K-12. The televised schedule aims to provide meaningful learning experiences for students at home, regardless if they have access to internet or computers.

Superintendent’s Message
“While San Bernardino County remains on the state monitoring list for COVID-19, we are resilient community that continues to move forward with services to support students and families throughout the county.” View this week’s message from Superintendent Ted Alejandre.

Business Services
Payroll completed the month-end payroll and is currently working to ensure all remaining California School Employees Association employees receive their retroactive pay by Aug. 15. Business Advisory Services is providing subject matter expertise and assistance to San Bernardino County Local Educational Agencies in the areas of year-end closing, salary disclosure reporting and other business office tasks. Mulberry County Early Education Center received a new roof system last week that will lower the exterior roof temperature by 50-60 degrees—providing a cooler environment for students and staff. In addition, the campus is being repainted and flooring is being replaced to provide a healthy, safe and vibrant learning environment. County school districts are scheduled to come by the Support Center this week to pick up hand sanitizer, cloth masks and the remainder of personal protective equipment provided by the California Office of Emergency Services.

Human Resources
Human Resources, Student Services and San Bernardino County Teachers Association have successfully agreed upon a memorandum of understanding for teachers returning to their worksite. Certified and classified employees will receive training on how to properly use PPE and disinfectants. Risk Management is working to complete its Illness Injury Protection Plan document that will soon be shared with all employees. HR and Risk Management have crafted PowerPoint presentations to present to certificated teachers and CSEA members at the Back-to-School meetings. The new teacher evaluation protocols have been shared among HR’s unit members and management staff. The new evaluation system will be more manageable and support a meaningful evaluation process.

Innovation and Engagement
This year’s San Bernardino Academic Decathlon will be held virtually, along with the state competition, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. County coordinators from across the state are meeting with Student Events staff throughout the next several weeks to finalize plans to make this a wonderful experience for the decathletes. Mountain Desert Career Pathway districts received more than $3 million in grants for Career Education Programs. These funds are used to provide and support career pathways, supporting existing or emerging labor market needs across the region. With the new set of funds, MDCP is looking to include web-based industry expert chats, a virtual Behavioral Health Careers Symposium, virtual competitions and small group industry-lead mentoring for its students. On July 25, Homeless Education gave away 40,000 books and passed out Girl Scout cookies that were donated by Probation and Student Services. Innovation and Engagement is in the process of updating the Online Essential Skills platform and promoting it to partners across two counties to generate interest and endorsements.

Education Support Services
Education Support Services launched courses for Foundations of Universal Design for Learning in Elementary and Secondary on the Canvas learning platform. A distance learning course is also under development and will be published shortly. ESS published the first edition of the Early Literacy newsletter and met with community partners as well as county and district leaders to support literacy and the expansion of Footsteps2Brilliance to a second cohort of preschool sites. Two Footsteps2Brilliance teacher trainings and four family/community partnership trainings are scheduled and will be presented in English and Spanish over the next two months.

Office of the Superintendent
On July 30, Ted Alejandre participated in the Inland Empire Hispanic Leadership Council’s Leadership Series alongside California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and Riverside County Superintendent Dr. Judy White. The event focused on the developments in remote learning and the ways state and county leadership is supporting new educational efforts for the 2020-21 academic year. Last Thursday, SBCSS staff and family members participated in a farewell celebration for two alternative education Principals. Dr. Regina Criswell from David Stine Chaffey West and Yucca Valley County Community Schools retired after 30 years in education. George Bowser from Bob Murphy County Community School retired after 40 years in education. Congratulations on this new chapter and thank you both for your years of dedication and hard work!

Student Services
An agreement was made between HR, Student Services, SBCTA and CSEA on teachers returning to their worksite. The school reopening plan will have a gradual increase in the days employees are able to return to work. Student Services team members worked diligently to develop distance learning guidelines for teachers to assist with the delivery of instruction as outlined in Senate Bill 98. As area directors continue to meet this week with teachers and paraeducators for their annual Back-to-School meetings, the document and expectations for an engaging and robust distance learning instructional program will be shared with all employees soon. County Superintendent Ted Alejandre and Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Myrlene Pierre will continue to join the daily Back-to-School Zoom meetings to greet Student Services personnel and welcome the team to the 2020-2021 school year.

Technology Services
The Digital Learning Services team along with members from the Education Support Services branch and the Desert Mountain SELPA delivered an online training for the Victor Valley Union High School District teachers. The session focused on critical skills necessary for developing effective and engaging online lessons for blended and distance learning. In addition, the DLS team hosted online lesson development trainings for teachers in the San Bernardino City Unified and Fontana Unified School Districts. Over 800 teachers participated overall with 400 educators from each district. The team also conducted an advanced Google Classroom training for nearly 100 Silver Valley Unified School District employees. Using Google Classroom as a learning management system, schools will be able to deliver comprehensive lessons and learning materials to students virtually or in the classroom.

We Need You!
We want to give a special shout out to our internal and external payroll staff. Due to the nature of their work, they have been unable to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. We know this has been a challenging time. Please consider sending a note of thanks and appreciation for our dedicated Payroll staff. You can send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include “We salute Payroll” in the subject line.

We are one team, working together to transform lives. Your support of your fellow SBCSS team members during these challenging times is very much appreciated.

This is an exciting, yet challenging time of year. As we integrate back into the business of education, let’s continue to do it safely by observing social distance guidelines, practicing good personal hygiene and wearing face coverings in publics spaces and at work.

Thank you and be well.

Team Update 8/24/20

Dear SBCSS Team,

The start of the new school year has been truly inspiring to see teachers and students engaging with one another and settling into their new virtual learning environments. During these trying times, our surrounding communities, agencies, support staff, teachers, parents and families have continued to focus on the boundless potential of our students. By Aug. 31, all public schools in San Bernardino County will be back in session and primarily serving students through distance learning with the exception of Lucerne Valley Unified in the high desert. The district was approved to open its campus for face-to-face instruction for students grades TK-6 after meeting strict criteria set by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health.

Superintendent’s Message
“This is a school year unlike any we have experienced. Your perseverance, resiliency and dedication you provide to students in order to connect and succeed is powerful and purposeful.” View this week’s message.

Business Services
Business Services is in the process of reviewing unaudited actuals for the 2019-2020 year to ensure accuracy. The Support Center team received and distributed 2 million pieces of PPE, which included disposable and cloth masks, hand sanitizers, thermometers and face shields to all San Bernardino County districts and charter schools. Procurement continues to source and purchase materials and supplies to help support workplace safety and distance learning efforts at administrative and school sites. District Financial Services continues to help school districts with formal bid requirements and facilitate emergency contracting for public works projects needed as a result of COVID-19, such as ventilation systems and other building modifications.

Education Support Services
Education Support Services’ (ESS) early literacy coordinator delivered a training module titled “Learning Foundations.” This module is the first in a four course Early Literacy Pathway training series. There were 42 participants from across the county, including state and county preschool teachers, family day care providers and Child Resource Center educators. ESS ELA, Math and history coordinators continue to meet with local districts and teachers to discuss and develop strategies for teaching in a virtual setting. The LCAP Support and Advisory Services team continues to provide ongoing Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan (LCP) support for districts across the county, including the reading of district LCP drafts with reviews and feedback

Human Resources
Human Resources is working on finalizing its end of year reports and conducting interactives related to COVID-19 and other leave reports. HR has launched two grant opportunities for the 2020-2021 school year. The California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program awards up to $4k per year to support classified employees as they complete an undergraduate degree with the goal of becoming a teacher. The deadline to apply is Aug. 28 by 4 p.m. The Local Solutions Grant is sponsored by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to assist with a shortage of special education teachers. Local Solutions provides funding to recruit, prepare, develop support systems for, and retain special education teachers. The deadline to apply for the Local Solutions Grant also is Aug. 28 by 4 p.m.

Innovation and Engagement
Innovation and Engagement is updating all ROP course outlines and preparing for the online curriculum library that will be hosted on a new ROP website. This year’s Reading Rally has gone virtual and will be held from Sept. 1-30. For those who volunteered to create a video for Reading Rally, please send in your video submission to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by this Friday Aug. 28.

Office of the Superintendent
Superintendent Ted Alejandre participated in a Virtual Town Hall hosted by Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyes on Aug. 18. Nearly 70 attendees, including California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, Rialto Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Cuauhtemoc Avila, Colton Joint Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Miranda and Fontana Unified School District Superintendent Mr. Randal Bassett participated in the online forum. The event focused on back-to-school updates in the COVID-19 environment from superintendents.

Student Services
Live Oak County Early Education Center was recognized by the California Positive Behavior Interventions Support (PBIS) Coalition for their outstanding PBIS contribution during COVID-19. Congratulations on the outstanding work! West End Principal Cami Young and West End Psychologist Liz Zebrowski continue to implement PBIS through distance learning to help support students’ needs. SBCSS Gateway School held its graduation for its students on Aug. 19. Graduating seniors were honored for not only their academic achievements but also their personal successes. On Aug. 28, a drive-thru Commencement Ceremony for our Student Services Class of 2020 will be held at Barbara Phelps County Community School to honor this important milestone. Local and state public health department guidelines will be observed. There will be three ceremonies which take place at 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to maintain social distancing.

Technology Services
In a joint effort with Maintenance, Operations and Transportation, Technology Services upgraded old copper standard phone lines to a VOIP phone system at the Frost County Early Education Center and at the Etiwanda Medical Therapy Unit. The VOIP phone system is now connected through the network while still using the same existing phone numbers. The Digital Learning Services team presented five professional development sessions to Fontana Unified educators and administrators. The sessions focused on the National Standards for Quality Online Learning, Digital Citizenship, Netiquette and Social Emotional Learning, Considerations for English Language Learners in the Online Classroom and Considerations for Accessibility for students with disabilities. Last week, SBCSS’ digital learning staff Laurel Aguilar-Kirchhoff and Sonal Patel facilitated the second Webisode Wednesday webinar. County Superintendent Ted Alejandre along with more than 200 educators participated in the engaging session, which focused on the power of Screencastify to enhance distance learning.

We Need You!
As we progress into the school year via distance learning, some teachers, parents and families are getting creative with their new learning environments. SBCSS would like to showcase these new and creative ideas! If you are one who has created a fun new learning environment or knows anyone who has, please send a photo to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

We understand that these past weeks have been a challenge with adapting to distance learning and enduring this intensive heatwave; however, we are a strong community with immense resiliency. Remember to keep hydrated and rest, particularly when over-heated. Let’s continue to stay safe together by practicing social distancing, using good hygiene and wearing masks in public and in the workplace. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.