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The California Department of Education (CDE) today issued this week’s roundup of education-related announcements of public interest.
CDE Moves Forward with Implementing State’s Education Technology Plan
California is moving a step closer to implementing a plan to provide the 21st century education technology tools students need to prepare for college and careers, with the addition of Karen Holst, who will serve as an Education Technology Fellow.
Holst will work on recommendations made by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s Education Technology Task Force in its report, Empowering Learning: California Education Technology Blueprint, 2014 – 2017. The recommendations address improving teaching and learning with the help of technology, concentrating on learning, teaching, assessment, and infrastructure.
Holst has 15 years’ experience as an education technology executive and innovator. She cofounded an Internet company, MyEdu (now acquired by Blackboard, Inc.), which served millions of students nationwide. She also led strategic partnerships, operated large-scale data organizations, information technology, marketing, communications, and new business development within the public and private sectors.
Prior to this, Holst worked as a teacher. She also serves on several nonprofit boards and cofounded Colin’s Hope to help underserved youth.
Holst earned a Bachelor of Science degree in corporate communications from the University of Texas at Austin. Her appointment fulfills the Ed Tech Blueprint’s recommendation to create a senior-level position within CDE for education technology.
New Federal Smart Snacks in School Rules Issued
Starting next month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will require schools to make snacks healthier as part of the new Smart Snacks in School (SSIS) regulations.
These SSIS regulations create national nutrition standards that limit fat, sugar, and sodium in foods and beverages sold to students as snacks. These standards do not affect the foods and beverages sold through the federally reimbursable meal program, brought from home, given away (e.g., classroom parties or rewards), or sold after school hours. The new national rules only affect those schools that participate in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The changes are part of the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
California has led the nation in its work to make schools healthier environments, including banning soda sales at school. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson started his Team California for Health Kids initiative to encourage children to eat nutritious meals, be physically active, and drink plenty of water in and out of school. Research shows healthy kids learn better and are more likely to graduate and go to college.
The CDE has held trainings and Webinars for schools on the new rules, as well as reached out to the community. If schools need further assistance in complying with the new SSIS regulations, contact Michael Danzik in CDE’s Nutrition Services Division at 916-445-7346 or firstname.lastname@example.org.