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SAN JOSE, CA – On January 31, 2022, the County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, presented the 2022 State of Education in Santa Clara County address to a virtual audience. The event featured guest speakers including County Board of Education President Peter Ortiz, NBC Bay Area journalist Damian Trujillo and student performances by the Santa Clara County Youth Poet Laureate Anouk Yeh, Prospect High School’s Choir and Music Program directed by Erasmo Rodriguez Castaneda, and the Mountain View Madrigals choir, directed by Jill Denny.
The address, themed Together We Can, provided an overview of how youth in Santa Clara County are doing and the opportunities that lie ahead for Santa Clara County schools.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across Santa Clara County prioritized the safety and wellness of students, school personnel, and the communities within the county.
“Much has been learned about the COVID-19 virus and its effects on us as a community and the impact it has had on children and families, “ said Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, “COVID continues to impact us and yet, our collective efforts remind us that together we can take action on behalf of our county youth and succeed.”
Dr. Dewan emphasized the importance of ensuring safe classrooms by using all proven layers of mitigation including universal masking, vaccinations, and boosters for all those who are eligible.
The address also focused on how the pandemic exacerbated long-standing issues including student mental health and well-being. Recognizing the needs, the SCCOE worked with legislators to lead initiatives to secure funding and put policies in place to address the mental well-being of students and supported the creation of 11 wellness centers on school campuses across the county.
Other priorities included a focus on combating chronic absenteeism, expanding environmental literacy and investments in early learning programs, and providing inclusive and engaging classroom environments for students of all ages.
Rounding out the address Dr. Dewan issued a call to action for continued work to combat climate change, close the digital divide and to build capacity within the education profession to address long-standing staffing shortages.
“We have a call to action to build capacity within the education profession; to work with local and state governments to eliminate barriers to entering and sustaining the education workforce; and, to ensure that the diversity of school staff reflects the diversity of the student population.”
Dr. Dewan concluded the address with a reminder of the importance of shared partnerships, advocacy and keeping students healthy and safe.
“When students are equipped with every tool to help them succeed, there's no limit to what they can achieve to help uplift their communities, “ said Dr. Dewan, “Collectively, we have proven we are stronger together. And, I know that together, as a community, we can ensure our children have all that they need to be healthy and successful in learning and in life.”
The event ended with a performance of the song “Close to You,” by the Prospect High School choir and music program.
The event is archived and can be viewed at sccoe.to/Watch_SOE_2022. Additional materials can be found at https://sccoe.to/SOECompanionMaterials
About the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Working collaboratively with school and community partners, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional, business, and technology services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The County Office of Education directly serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The SCCOE also provides academic and fiscal oversight and monitoring to districts in addition to the 22 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.
For more information about the Santa Clara County Office of Education, please visit www.sccoe.org and follow us @SCCOE on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.