Underwater art in Irvine, school wellness centers, and more. – OECD Newsroom

Students from Irvine University High School recently completed an underwater-themed art project and an anti-pollution message.

Big jellyfish, a crab, a puffer fish and a tusked narwhal were created from used recyclable materials, including trash bags, plastic bottles, straws and shipping envelopes. The materials were collected from homes, beaches and even while traveling overseas, according to the Orange County Registry.

Led by marine science teacher David Knight, the class tackled the art project while studying ocean pollution.

“Every small step we take will eventually lead to a better world,” said one student. “It doesn’t matter how big your change is. The more you try, the more you help, the more beneficial it is.

And here are some of the other stories we’re following this week:

  • A growing number of schools across the country create on-campus wellness centers — also known as soothing rooms — which provide students with a quiet place to take a break when they’re feeling overwhelmed, reports the Los Angeles Times. The story notes that the OECD has partnered with Children’s Health of Orange County to open WellSpace Centers on Orange County campuses.
  • California will allow its mask mandate for indoor public spaces to expire on February 15. But face coverings will remain a state requirement for students and staff while they are indoors at school — for now anyway.
  • State officials have yet to announce when masking requirements will be lifted for schools, leaving parents and school officials to decide. speculate on what will come next.
  • The Laguna Beach Unified School District closed all of its campuses Thursday as firefighters battled a brush fire that broke out in the city’s Emerald Bay community. Schools and establishments reopened on Friday.
  • Plans for a new theater at Estancia High School in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District continue to advance despite a lawsuit and rising cost estimates. The project is expected to be completed in 2024.
  • The State Seal of Civic Engagement, an honor students can earn for their degrees and transcripts, can stimulate civic learning and ensuring that students understand the democratic process, according to a new study.
  • Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School Board voted 4-1 in favor of a resolution calling on the governor and state health officials to reconsider the pending mandate for the COVID-19 vaccine for students. The resolution said the requirement could drive students away from traditional K-12 schools, Voice of OC reported.
  • Bill that would tie school district funding to enrollment numbers rather than average daily attendance received an approval this week from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.
  • An Orange County state legislator held a press conference this week to talk about a bill that would establish a “parents’ bill of rights”, claiming that the legislation would give parents a greater voice in decisions about health care and education.
  • Four top school counselors and an education leader were honored this week as part of the OECD’s annual Counselor Recognition and Advocate’s Awards program.
  • Throughout the country, a large number of teachers quit the job, with most citing pandemic-related challenges. The trend is even more marked among minority teachers, reports the Los Angles Times.
  • Reflecting considerable investment gains, the CalPERS pension fund for school employees has lowered its projected contribution rates for districts for the five-year period beginning in 2022-23, reports EdSource.
  • And finally, an early childhood education researcher says it’s time to rethink the approach in preschool, including the notion that students from low-income families need different types of preparation than their higher-income peers.

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