Merced County Times Newspaper
The Power of Positive Press
Photos by Dylan McMullen Courtesy of MCOE

Office of Education unveils latest Education Report


Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen unveiled the annual Merced County Schools Annual Education Report last week during a luncheon event at the new MCOE Downtown Professional Development Center.

“We started this event nearly a decade ago to give the public a better understanding of how our public schools operate, how we all work together and some of the struggles we face,” Tietjen said at the event that drew more than 200 people. “I believe that by working together and coordinating our efforts, we are better poised to serve our students and communities.”

This is the first event in the new professional development center, also known as the Mondo building, which will host professional development and teacher training events, along with student events.

The 2019 report featured a performance from Ballico-Cressey Schools Taiko Drum Group and videos produced by Merced Educational Television (METV), a program operated by MCOE.

One video highlighted the Region III Migrant Education program that MCOE operates, which serves Madera, Merced and Stanislaus counties. The program helps students who face school year educational difficulties as their parents work in the seasonal agricultural industry.

“Migrant education serves students who are most at risk,” Tietjen said in his address. “Our challenges today pale in comparison to what immigrants face.”

A second video focused on MCOE’s Continuous Improvement program, which provides professional development for teachers and educators in Merced County and the region.

In his remarks, Tietjen talked about new professional development facility, upgrades at MCOE’s outdoor school Camp Green Meadows, the expansion of Head Start services, among other MCOE updates.

He also acknowledged several school districts that are positive outliers for serving students and the Merced Union High School District’s commitment to college and career readiness.

The 2019 Merced County Teacher of the Year Rosbelina Ward and MCOE Mathematics Coordinator Duane Habecker also gave presentations about the good work they have been doing in their respective fields.

Among the report’s highlights:
  • The Kids Discovery Station is set to open this spring at the MCOE Yosemite Center.
  • County high school graduation rates exceeded the state average at about 92 percent compared to 88 percent.
  • Merced County Schools enrollment rose to 59,357 in 2019-20 from 59,222 in 2018-19.
  • The overall Merced County school districts’ 2019-20 budget rose to almost $750 million, up from nearly $725 million in 2018-19.
  • Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2020-21 budget proposed a $2.9 billion increase to education spending, including an added $900 million to special education.

For copies of the annual report or to learn more about education in Merced County, call Nathan Quevedo at 381-6658.

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