Monthly News Article for April 2021

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Trinity County Office of Education
Sarah Supahan – County Superintendent of Schools
www.tcoek12.org • (530) 623-2861

 

TCOE Monthly Article for April – by guest writer LuAnn Peitz on behalf of TCOE

As a child growing up in Trinity County, I was fortunate to call Coffee Creek my home.  Three years ago, I began the Master’s in Social Work Program at Chico State. I knew I wanted to use this educational opportunity to give back to the community that raised me. Over the past year, I have partnered with Susan Roll from Chico State and Sarah Supahan from the Trinity County Office of Education (TCOE) to conduct the Trinity County Needs and Opportunities Assessment.

To begin this work, an economic history of Trinity County was compiled to provide a foundation for the assessment.  I found that Trinity County has a long, unstable economic history due to a cycle of economic boom and bust.  This cycle has created high rates of poverty and poor health outcomes for Trinity County residents. 

To inform a new vision for the future of Trinity County, a series of focus group meetings were held at all five Trinity County High Schools: Alps View HS, Hayfork HS, Trinity HS, Southern Trinity HS and RISE Academy.  A total of 38 high schoolers participated in the focus groups sharing their ideas about challenges and opportunities in our county that can inform future social policy.

The following themes surfaced from the voices of young people: Trinity County has a strong sense of community, natural helping networks, limited economic opportunities, limited infrastructure, suspicion of outsiders, and an illegal underground economy. An undertone of the six themes was a sense of isolation, both geographical and political. In addition to the specific themes was another important factor: school culture.  School culture at the various schools was significantly different, likely due to a variety of things including different school staff, the students themselves, as well as the economy and the resources available in each community.  

In response to the question, “What would you do with a million dollars to invest in your community?” students responded with thoughtful and telling ideas for how they would shape the future of their communities.  They would like to improve town infrastructure and create jobs by building local businesses like grocery and clothing stores, restaurants, and by improving the “run down” businesses in the community.  Other popular ideas were building affordable housing and offering more mental health services along with the creation of drug rehabilitation centers across the county for youth and adults.  Lastly, they wanted their schools improved. These ideas will help to create a youth-led vision for community change.

The results of this project have identified many opportunities and challenges for Trinity County youth.  According to the research, two significant factors outline the unique experiences of young people here: the cyclical nature of the raw materials industry and geographical and political isolation.  These issues have contributed to the lack of economic opportunities, access to resources, and infrastructure in Trinity County. This is a social justice issue requiring the participation of the entire community, including the next generation, to create social change.

We look forward to sharing more of the findings and engaging in community dialog at a series of community meetings that will be held at Trinity County high schools throughout this month, and at the Partnership in Action for Trinity Health (PATH), and hopefully at the Board of Supervisors meetings in May.  Please watch for upcoming notices about these meetings and your opportunity to participate.

Based on these findings, a youth-centered community profile will be created where qualitative and quantitative data will be added together with potential action steps.  Upon completion, the entire project will be housed in an online website through TCOE.

In addition, plans are underway to create a North State Youth Collaborative.  First, focus groups will be held in high schools across the North State and second, a youth collaborative will be built through these contacts.  Both the focus groups and youth collaborative will identify barriers, strengths, and opportunities in communities across the North State. Students will be linked with community stakeholders.  The expected outcome will be to empower, inspire and mentor rural youth to be the next leaders of their communities.

This project is rooted in North State interagency collaboration.  There can be great significance in the role Chico State plays in the connections made in Trinity County and our partnership with the North State. For many years, Chico State has claimed to partner with the North State, but few opportunities have arisen to benefit local people in Trinity County.  This research project is an example of Chico State’s commitment to the underserved populations of the North State.  We are setting a precedent for growing a cooperative relationships like this one now and into the future.

Monthly News Article for March 2021

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Trinity County Office of Education
Sarah Supahan – County Superintendent of Schools
www.tcoek12.org • (530) 623-2861

 

Local schools are far more than “just” educational institutions

While other schools in our county started at their usual times in August or early September this year, despite the pandemic, Southern Trinity Joint Unified School District (considered “Joint” due to the fact that it includes portions of two counties, Trinity and Humboldt) didn’t start until October 26, 2020 due to the August Complex Fire, the largest complex fire in the state since record-keeping began.

While schools were closed to students in Southern Trinity, for several weeks the school buildings were used as a sleeping center for fire crews. Mr. Andrew Felt, Principal of Van Duzen Elementary, Southern Trinity High, and Mt. Lassic Continuation School, took care of all of the logistics, literally living on campus for a number of weeks.  Suzanne Boak, a community member, generously assisted at times to bring snacks and meals to the crews staying on campus.

The Community Hall, which is on school property, became the recovery center, and Mr. Felt helped organize much of that as well. Emergency water, food, ice chests, generators, and clothing, storage totes and more were donated by many local organizations. Susan Gordon and Debbie Sellman, retired employees of the district, helped with manning the site so community members could come get the supplies they needed to survive.  

During fire recovery meetings, there were discussions regarding people's needs.  The District Superintendent, Peggy Canale, who lives in Ruth, had lost her entire home water system, and she knew that many others in the area had lost theirs as well, even if they did not lose their homes.  Replacing water systems seemed a logical start for recovery.  Mrs. Canale sent out an inquiry over Facebook and got a list of about 30 full-time residents who had lost their water systems and who did not have insurance. She shared the list with The Weaverville Lions, Pay it Forward Humboldt, And Trinity County Food Bank. They organized funding and they graciously entrusted Mrs. Canale to order complete water systems, including tanks and pipe and connections for community members. 

Mrs. Canale said, “It has been a tremendous outpouring of help. Over $36,000 has been committed to this project and is helping our community members to get water and to store water once again!  I am so overwhelmed by how generous the surrounding communities have been. I also am so happy that I have been able to assist folks here in our community.  I really want to see people recover their homes and not leave our area.  It's going to be a long haul.”

We are lucky to have such dedicated and impactful school staff at the Southern Trinity willing to share not only the school facilities, but also their own time and tremendous efforts towards recovery.

While what the staff from the Southern Trinity School District did for their community throughout the August Complex Fire and recovery was so helpful and necessary, it’s not anything new to our local schools. Our districts and their staff have often initiated assistance and/or partnered with other organizations to help the community through many different emergency situations, including the disastrous Helena Fire and the Carr Fire, and even helped some Camp Fire families resettle locally as well.

Monthly News Article for February 2021

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Trinity County Office of Education
Sarah Supahan – County Superintendent of Schools
www.tcoek12.org • (530) 623-2861

 

Trinity County, our schools are open for in-person learning

We are proud to say that our schools are open to in-person instruction, and they all opened at their usual start time this school year, all except for Southern Trinity Joint Unified School District who had a delayed start due to the August Complex Fire.

Safety is a priority for Trinity County districts. Our schools have been following the CDPH Safety Guidelines set out in July 2020, and due to their efforts to enforce those safety plans (masking, social distancing, handwashing, etc.) as well as likely due to the fact that we’ve had fewer cases in our community than in more populated areas, we’ve had no outbreaks in our schools. An outbreak, which would require a school to close to in-person instruction, is defined as “three cases in a school over a 14-day period”.

The only cases we’ve had in our schools have not originated inside the schools themselves, but were due to a close contact with someone in the community who contracted the COVID-19 virus. Some of the schools in our county have had to go to distance-learning for short periods of time for one specific reason: a lack of staff. This has occurred when a staff member or members were required to quarantine due to an exposure, and yet there is an ongoing shortage of substitute teachers to call in. There were also three districts who chose to close to in-person instruction for a short period of time out of an abundance of caution when cases were rising in the population of their respective communities.

Single classrooms or “cohorts” have also gone to distance-learning temporarily because of an exposure to the virus within that group. Our districts have done an exceptional job of keeping groups of students together throughout the day so that if there is an exposure in one classroom, it doesn’t affect other classrooms. This is called “cohorting” or maintaining “stable groups” and has been an effective way to slow any potential spread. Several of our districts, especially, need to be commended because in order to keep cohorts small and socially-distanced, it has meant that their administrator, who may also be Superintendent AND Principal, are now also teaching.

A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that for students, going to school was not directly associated with having a positive COVID-19 test, but social gatherings were—including weddings, parties, and playdates. This likely reflects the more controlled school environment which helps to keep kids healthy.

You may be hearing about the states’ plans for “reopening” schools. That is a misnomer. No school has actually been “closed” in the state this school year. Rather, some students in the state are not learning in-person and instead are engaged in virtual learning. The larger populations in the state have had bigger challenges trying to reopen to in-person instruction and many are still not able to do so. You can now see which schools are open to in-person instruction, those who are doing “hybrid” learning (are taking turns in person at school to keep groupings small) or are distance-learning only at the following website: https://schools.covid19.ca.gov. All schools report in each week, so this website will reflect the latest status of each elementary, middle, high school and charter school.

Suggested section title: “Why are so few children getting COVID-19?”

You might be interested to know that in recent studies evidence suggests that children actually have lower rates of COVID-19 infection than adults and tend to have a less severe reaction if they do get the virus. The reason? Children produce fewer “ACE-2 receptors” and these receptors are the doorway that the virus uses to enter into human cells.

A study from May 2020 shows that elementary students produce fewer “ACE-2 receptors” than middle and high school-aged students, who produce fewer receptors than adults. Consequently, children have fewer doorways into the body for the virus, which leads to fewer infections and less severe infections for those who do catch it.

Another reason may be because children’s immune systems are used to fighting off common colds. The common cold is also in the same family of viruses as COVID-19 called “coronavirus’”. Some parts of all coronavirus’ are very similar. A study of children back in 2011-2018 shows that more children had antibodies against the kinds of coronavirus’ that existed at that time, likely because they had coughs and colds more often than young adults aged 17-25. Those increased antibodies to related virus’ may be keeping more children from getting COVID-19.

It is likely a combination of these two things —the ACE-2 receptor production and pre-existing antibodies to other coronaviruses—that explain why children get COVID-19 less frequently and less severely than adults.

Monthly News Article for January 2021

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Trinity County Office of Education
Sarah Supahan – County Superintendent of Schools
www.tcoek12.org • (530) 623-2861

 

What do chores at home have to do with school?

Children who understand and follow the procedures and routines of doing chores at home learn how to follow the routines and procedures at school, and this can lead to success at school as well as in life in general. Chores help teach children to follow the complex rules of the road when learning to drive, or the procedures and routines of the workplace when they are old enough to seek employment.

Read more: Monthly News Article for January 2021

Monthly News Article for December 2020

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Trinity County Office of Education
Sarah Supahan – County Superintendent of Schools
www.tcoek12.org • (530) 623-2861

 

Title: Spilling the Beans on COVID-19: A Beginner’s Guide and what all those Terms Mean

As we wind down the first half of the school year and transition into the second half, we wanted to take a moment to review some important terms and phrases you may be hearing all too regularly in relation to COVID-19 and schools. While we are often quick to point out who needs to be in quarantine and who needs to be in isolation, we don’t always pause to explain what those two words mean in our current environment and how we decide who goes into what category. Hopefully, over the next few paragraphs that gets a little clearer for everyone and we can start to understand how these decisions are made.

Read more: Monthly News Article for December 2020

Monthly News Article for November 2020

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Trinity County Office of Education
Sarah Supahan – County Superintendent of Schools
www.tcoek12.org • (530) 623-2861

 

Schools Need Subs in All Job Categories!

Have you ever thought about becoming a substitute teacher, a substitute classroom para-educator (also called a classroom aide), or a pre-school instructor? Maybe you like to cook and would love to try your hand at making a great lunch for kids for a day, or you enjoy working outside and would love to do janitorial or maintenance work on a substitute basis. You’d earn some extra money and our schools really need you!

Our county regularly suffers from a shortage of school substitutes and this year is no exception. It’s possible that people don’t know about this opportunity for extra cash and part-time, flexible work, so we wanted to make sure the community knows and can spread the word!

Read more: Monthly News Article for November 2020

Monthly News Article for September 2020

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Trinity County Office of Education
Sarah Supahan – County Superintendent of Schools
www.tcoek12.org • (530) 623-2861

 

Distance Learning and Special Education by Anthony Rebelo

Welcome back to another school year in Trinity County! As most of our districts are back to school and resuming a normal schedule, there are still so many questions that can pop up. What’s the difference between distance learning and independent study? How does my student get special education services? And what the heck is a “hybrid model” of learning? As we work through these questions together, we appreciate the collaboration and understanding we have seen so far from our school sites and our community. Today, we are going to try and answer one of those questions above…what does special education look like during distance learning?

Read more: Monthly News Article for September 2020

Trinity County Office of Ed | 201 Memorial Drive | PO Box 1256 |  Phone (530) 623-2861 | FAX (530) 623-4489

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