California ACES Action News – September 18, 2020

Interested in joining ACEs Connection? Click HERE!

4CA Webinar: State and Federal Outlook on Supporting Children To Thrive

Join 4CA this webinar taking a look at trauma informed policy implications at the state and federal levels, including the unique context of 2020. 

ACEs Connection ● Register ● Read more »


Trauma is ‘Written Into Our Bodies’ – but Educators Can Help

“I’d have this snapshot of multigenerational adversity in one room,” Burke Harris said, still looking worried decades later. How did the pieces fit together? What did a learning problem have to do with asthma, or with exposure to trauma? Could any of it be connected to terminal conditions like cancer?

Edutopia ● Read more »


Stressors Take Toll on Students’ Mental Health

Surveys of parents with school-age children reveal the mental health challenges faced by their young ones. A Gallup poll conducted in May found that among parents with children in kindergarten through grade 12, 29% said their child was “already experiencing harm” to their emotional or mental health because of physical distancing and pandemic-related closures of schools and businesses.

California Health Care Foundation ● Read more »


ACEs Aware

SAVE THE DATE! ACEs Aware September Webinar: Assessing Readiness & Building Resilience in the Clinical Workforce

Presenters will:
  • Define workforce resilience and trauma-informed principles and review resources and tools, including tips for reducing staff stress and burnout.
  • Share examples and lessons learned about assessing staff readiness and building infrastructure.
  • Offer practical tips on how to prepare to successfully screen for ACEs and toxic stress, provide evidence-based interventions, and implement trauma-informed care.

ACEs Aware ● Read more »


CTIPP invites everyone to participate in calls on pressing national issues, starting this Wednesday on climate

The monthly Zoom virtual gathering sponsored by national organization “Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP)” will complete this year’s series by tackling some of the most pressing issues this country is facing.  With a focus on the role of trauma-informed approaches to help manage solutions to these challenges, the CTIPP-CAN (Community Advocacy Network) meetings for the remainder of the year will address policing in October, peer counseling in November, and racial inequality in December.  These calls are held the third Wednesday of every month (2:00-3:30 pm ET) and include an update on federal issues and guidance on how individuals and organizations can take action.

Campaign for Trauma Informed Policy & Practice ● Read more »


Talk + Play = Connect Toolkit for Families

Parents and caring adults make such a difference in children’s lives in so many ways. Two incredibly important ways that we can connect with our children are through talking to them and playing with them.

Yolo County Children’s Alliance ● Read more »


Trauma-informed Leadership in Times of Crisis

Over 100 Community Collaboration for Children’s Success (CCCS) partners participated in a Trauma-Informed Leadership Training hosted by Trauma Transformed on August 24 to learn how to bring a trauma-informed approach to their leadership during this COVID-19 crisis in order to support their communities and staff.

Get Healthy San Mateo County ● Read more »


Sesame Street in Communities Provides Support for Kids Impacted by Wildfires

To help you as you begin your recovery, we’ve developed “Here for Each Other.” This family guide offers tips and activities to do with your child that offer comfort and assurance.
We hope some of these ideas can help you create a warm and soothing environment that will allow both you and your child to look toward sunnier days to come. And remember, you are not alone. We are here for each other!

Sesame Street ● Read more »


Opportunity for Public Comment on the All Children Thrive RFA

We are inviting the public to comment on the eligibility and funding criteria for the All Children Thrive California (ACT-CA) initiative. Public comment on these items is open from September 7, 2020 until September 22, 2020.

All Children Thrive ● Read more »


Trauma, Development & Neuroplasticity Series with Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD

Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD, describes her 6-part course about the major brain networks and therapeutic strategies to help recover from trauma.
This six-part weekly webinar will explore critical brain systems that are affected frequently by trauma and how altered functioning of each brain system can be associated with certain trauma-related symptoms.

EEG Learn ● Read more »


Changing the Odds for Health in the Midst of a Global Pandemic

Throughout his career, Iton has made it his chief focus to eliminate health disparities among disadvantaged populations. Join us as he shares his perspectives on how health agencies can integrate health equity into the COVID-19 response.

astho ● Read more »


Join CCT in Taking Action to Address the Youth Mental Health Crisis (A series of 3 blogs)

September is suicide prevention month and according to a June CDC survey on mental health, 1 in 4 youth ages 18 to 24 said they had “seriously considered” suicide in the past 30 days—more than twice as high as any other age group. The tragic fact is that more youth die from suicide than any other cause.

ACEs Connection ● Read more »


Prevention in Pandemic Action Program

The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA) is pleased to announce that funds will be available to community-based organizations providing sexual violence (SV) prevention and intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention in their communities. This program is entitled Prevention in Pandemic Action Program (PPAP).

California Coalition Against Sexual Assault ● Read more »


Saving Black Youth

In 2017, the Sierra Health Foundation Center—the nonprofit arm of the Sierra Health Foundation—applied for funding to allocate more resources into community violence prevention…

Stanford Social Innovation Review ● Read more »


Black at UC Berkeley: Professor Tyrone Hayes on discrimination in academia

In a nation where Black people make up fewer than 5% of full-time college and university professors, UC Berkeley biology…

The Mercury News ● Read more »


Child Adversity and the Medical Home

Keenan et al, in an article being early released this month, surveyed almost 200 parents whose children had experienced physical abuse to determine if there was an association…

American Academy of Pediatrics ● Read more »


California finally to move ahead with ‘cradle to career’ data system

The marching order for what Newsom is calling a Cradle to Career Data System is included in a lengthy bill elaborating…

EdSource ● Read more »


COVID-19’s Toll on Mental Health

Sep 14 & Sep 19th: The New LCAP

This year, the Local Control and Accountability Program has been replaced with the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan. Please do not be fooled; this year’s LCAP is completely different from last year’s LCAP. Your regularly-scheduled LCAP will return next year.

Confused? Then join one of our webinars:

Register below for one of these webinars:

Materials from these seminars may be found here:

Tiger Woods Foundation Offers Free Digital Learning Resources For Students and Educators

Almost everyone would agree, education is the key to success in life. In line with this objective, the Tiger Woods Foundation has become part of the global learning community and the TGR Foundation is doing much to support students and educators. In tune with technology, TGR provides digital workshops and holds virtual office hours while providing 40+ interdisciplinary learning resources through TGR EDU.

What is the University of California Doing to Meet the Needs of African-American/Black students?

August 18th, 2020

Last month, UC released preliminary admissions data and announced that Latinx students will now comprise the largest segment of admitted freshmen, a first in the institution’s history. We applaud the increase in diversity of the UC system, but what about the African-American/Black students?  Furthermore, what is UC doing to meet the needs of African-American/Black students, and to ensure that they feel welcome and included?  What, if anything, is being done to promote anti-racism, and to reduce in particular anti-blackness?  

According to recent preliminary data1 released by UC, African-American students have comprised only five percent of system-wide freshmen admissions for the past three years. It should also be noted that Native American and Pacific Islander students comprised far less, as the data shows  zero admits from both student populations for the Fall of 2019 and 2020.  Clearly, much work still needs to be done with regards to the institution’s efforts to increase diversity, and to ensure the retention, persistence, and graduation of African-American/Black students, as well as other underrepresented students of color.

We anticipate welcome and necessary changes in these areas should Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 (ACA 5)2 pass in the November election and repeal Prop 209, which prohibited Affirmative Action in California schools and government.  According to the bill’s author, Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber, the bill would allow for the explicit inclusion of race in university discussions and actions,3 which begs the question, what discussions, and more importantly, what actions? How will those discussions and actions affect African-American students?  These are all questions that will need to be answered by UC and its board, which has unanimously endorsed the bill. UC officials have acknowledged4 that removing the restrictions of Prop 209 would be a good start to increasing diversity in the UC system, but have noted that much work will need to be done.  We ask that as they prepare to do this work, that they

  • Approach the work with an equity lens
  • Engage with all stakeholders, including African-American/Black students, staff, faculty, and the community.
  • Increase accountability and transparency by sharing their plans and data with the public.  

In addition to the UC Board of Regents endorsement of ACA 5, UC has made several additional recent efforts to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), such as eliminating the SAT and ACT tests from admissions requirements, hiring the institution’s first Black President, and creating an Anti-Racism Taskforce.  UC has also released statements regarding recent protests against police brutality, and systemic racism, all against the backdrop of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other African-Americans. However, such statements and efforts are simply insufficient, unless they are tied to initiatives to support African-American/Black students and to specific actions to address and combat anti-Blackness at the intuition.  The lack of such actions and initiatives, and the timing of UC’s recent efforts are questionable, and lead us to ask if they are essentially performative and reactive work, rather than intentional and proactive.  

We are well aware that the UC San Diego Black Staff Association recently hosted a series of informative workshops addressing some of these very issues.  These were well received, and allowed for some important discussions to take place.  However, as our colleagues, Dr. J. Luke Wood and Dr. Frank Harris III of the Center for Organizational Responsibility and Advancement (CORA) have recently pointed out, institutions must go beyond holding such “healing circles,” and “devise a comprehensive strategy for addressing anti-blackness.”  We call on the UC system to devise such a strategy, and to implement other effective strategies to address anti-blackness, and support African-American/Black students, as well as other underrepresented students.  Such strategies are well documented in the literature, in particular those offered by our aforementioned colleagues.

We also invite UC to listen, believe, and acknowledge the real experiences of African-American/Black students, staff, and faculty.  We have not forgotten past incidents such as the Compton Cookout, and the noose at the Geisel Library, nor more recent incidents such as the swastikas that were found in Muir buildings at UC San Diego just this past year, nor the recent stories from staff of color at UC who have witnessed and experienced racism, discrimination, and bias, both implicit and explicit on UC campuses.  These incidents are reflective of wider issues of campus climate and systemic racism, and are counterproductive to anti-racism and the reduction of anti-blackness.  UC must address these wider issues.  

We implore UC to do more not only to ensure that the diversity of their student body better reflects the diversity of California, but that the diversity of their staff, faculty, administration, and board also reflects the diversity of the students that they serve.  According to UC’s data on workforce diversity5 from October of 2019, over 60 percent of the Faculty were White (domestic & international combined) at all UC campuses.  If UC truly strives to create inclusive and welcoming spaces at all of its campuses, and to foster a sense of belonging for all students, particularly for African-American/Black students, they will need to do more to address this lack of workforce diversity, particularly with regards to faculty representation, and begin to implement proactive, intentional and effective strategies to meet the needs of UC students, staff, and faculty, particularly those from underrepresented groups.  The NAACP San Diego Branch Education Committee welcomes collaboration with UC, and stands ready to assist them in the development and implementation of such efforts, which will benefit the entire UC community, local surrounding communities, and ultimately, the wider society.  

NAACP San Diego Branch Education Committee 





Racial Issues are Alive and Well in San Diego Unified

July 7, 2020

Students from Patrick Henry High School in the San Diego Unified School District are amusing one another by posting pictures in blackface.  This, while much of the nation is experiencing a moment of consciousness about the true extent of racial injustice in our society, and taking to the streets in support of their fellow human beings.  Clearly, the killing of Mr George Floyd is not what is in the consciousness of San Diego Unified students when it comes to African-Americans; instead, it is the mockery of the minstrel show.

Perhaps one of the reasons these students lack consciousness of their actions is that the district continues to employ (and promote!) teachers who themselves find blackface a matter of amusement, like Dean Schmidt at Serra High.

Racist incidents are going to continue to show their hideous faces until we address the systemic racism in our schools.

Cindy Marten, however, continues her crusade to pretend we live in a “post-racial” society and that she runs a “post-racial” school district.  Why else would she have abolished the Race, Human Relations and Advocacy Department?

Mr Kevin Beiser, you are trustee for all the youth in the district.  We ask that you rise to this occasion and show some bold leadership.  We ask that you call the Superintendent onto the carpet and hold her accountable.

Mr Beiser, this superintendent tried to sweep this incident under the rug, as she has so often done in the past.  This superintendent has shuffled her organization chart nearly 20 times, and never brought much in the way of diversity to the decision-making table.  Instead of addressing each new problem, she merely crows that much louder that there are no problems, in hopes of never having to make real change.

Also, Mr Beiser, while we note the school’s statement regarding its name, we invite you to consider the words of high school student Mr Dino Jones, when he called for the renaming of his own “Patrick Henry High School”: It’s a direct contradiction to speak out for freedom for some and still own slaves.  It is time to change the school’s name; we do not think it appropriate to operate a school named after a man who said “Give me liberty or give me death” but refused to grant liberty to others when it was his to give.  That is hypocrisy, not heroism.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch

Racism at Serra High

June 30, 2020

Re: Racism at Serra High

Safe educational environments for Black students are increasingly rare. Equally scarce is the safety of all Blacks amid tyrant policing within their community environments. 

With tensions pressing from each angle, we are now witnessing the tipping point: the near collapse of a school and justice system that have thrived and benefited from the suppression of black excellence and existence. 

The suppression has its methodical roots in racism and oppression. Historically, the educational system has served as the stage to blindside and initiate black children with their first racist experiences. Here, they also experience the candidly critical and degrading lens in which their blackness is viewed by educators. 

The educators who operate in these suppression tactics clearly have not developed the qualifications and intentions to educate black students. Conversely, they have also not evolved to the highest educational standards as educators prior to licensing. California Teaching Credential standards maintain that an educator practice a mindset that connects with, teaches, and draws the best qualities out of all students with high regard to their culture and individuality. 

The California Education Code, the California Department of Education, and the San Diego Unified School District all publish regulations, policies, and procedures prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and intimidation in California Public Schools. However, due to lack of enforcement of these laws, the NAACP receives an ongoing flow of complaints that describe an array of legal violations in the learning environment. Several complaint investigations reveal that San Diego Unified School District knowingly inflicts harm on black students and their communities with various inequitable practices, and by allowing perpetual educator misconduct directed against blacks. Many complaints describe schools as protected hubs with pockets of the racism echoed in societal climates at large.

In such climates, black students walk to class through the halls of injustice, hoping to proceed unscathed. However, experience tells them the further they proceed in their education, the higher the likelihood of experiencing an educator practicing overt or covert racism.  Here, black students realize the cost of integration is being immersed in the toxicity of racist Educators. Here, black students are blinded and asphyxiated by smokescreens (of “educational equality”) & mirrors (reflecting oppressive acts).  

We take an unrelenting stance against such practices and hold every educator and staff member accountable for ALL actions against black students and their communities. We call for swift and immediate action regarding the unresolved case at Serra High School. 

Let the record reflect that in 2013, three educators made a conscious decision to paint their faces with dark brown paint to mimic a black bobsledder at a social engagement. Let the record also reflect that dressing in “black face” mirrors the disgraceful legacy and practice where white performers painted their face black to mimic characters that demeaned and dehumanized African Americans. Let the record further reflect, to date, hundreds of thousands of black students, black families, black educators and staff, the black community and countless other members of the public have also reviewed the educators pose and smile for the cameras as they celebrated in “black face”. 

We ALL observed their “black face” and the damaging after-effects.

The Educators decisions to bask in “black face” was a direct violation of: 

  • Our Human rights
  • Our Civil rights 
  • California Standards of the Teaching Profession 
  • Teacher’s code of ethics
  • Teacher’s code of conduct
  • California Education law 
  • California Dept of Education policy and procedures
  • San Diego Unified District administrative policies and procedures 
  • U.S. Dept of Education policy and procedures
  • Abuse of Power
  • Public Trust

Though the public has called for the resignation of all three of the educators that posed in “black face” and the public has initiated an active petition with nearly 800 of 1,000 signatures signed, only two of the educators have resigned, leaving one of the culprits at Serra High School.  This means, for the past 7 years, the safety of all students, especially black students, has been compromised and the educational environment was tainted. The inaction of district officials has allowed Joseph Schmidt to linger in an educational environment, making it easy to inflict further harm. We understand that Mr Schmidt is once again the subject of complaints from Serra High students.

The NAACP stands with the public in outrage and again call for action to eradicate racism on every school campus, including Serra High School, a Title 1 school.  

We demand the U.S. Dept of Education’s Office of Civil rights to take action. We call for action from the California Department of Education to audit the practices mentioned and the use of Title 1 funds at Serra High. We also call CDE to audit the other Title 1 schools within SDUSD (again) due to the many failures to take adequate actions against documented racism against black students. We call for the resignation of upper management and other SDUSD school officials who have allowed this matter, along with other racially charged atrocities against blacks to go unresolved under their watch. We DEMAND you uphold the applicable U.S, State, Federal, and all other laws set forth to protect our children. Enforcing the Safe Place to Learn Act is a fair place to start. 


A Concerned Parent and Member of the NAACP San Diego Branch Education Committee